Updated at 3.05pm, adds arraignment

A man, arrested by armed policemen in San Ġwann on Monday after 23 kilograms of cannabis and some €45,000 in cash were found in his car, was remanded in custody after pleading not guilty on Tuesday.

Justin Farrugia, the 28-year-old Valletta resident, was taken to court on Tuesday afternoon where he pleaded not guilty to aggravated possession of cannabis and cocaine, dangerous driving, disobeying police orders and resisting arrest.

The man was further charged with driving without a licence and without a valid insurance cover, damaging third party vehicles and ignoring a ‘no entry’ sign. He was also charged with relapsing.

Prosecuting Inspector Jonathan Cassar explained how members of the Drug Squad had been on the suspect’s trail as he drove his vehicle out of an underground garage.

“He contravened a one way sign and crashed into a car,” Inspector Cassar told the court.

A search of the vehicle and the garage yielded the drugs and cash, the Inspector said.

The arrested man sat silent at the dock, choosing not to answer any questions put to him by the court.

Defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client but did not request bail at this stage.

The court, presided over by magistrate Simone Grech, upheld a request by the prosecution, issuing a freezing order upon all the man’s assets, save for the €13,976 yearly allowance according to law.

The man had been targeted by a drugs operation and was arrested by armed officers, some of them hooded, on Monday close to Mater Dei Hospital. He tried to dodge arrest by driving off, ramming a police vehicle and crashing into a number of other vehicles, prompting the officers to fire warning shots.

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