A man who claimed to be a regular cannabis user after some 1.75 kilos of the drug were discovered at his Sliema home has been granted bail.

Darko Smiljanic, a 31-year old Serbian national who has lived in Malta for the past six years, was remanded in custody two weeks ago after pleading not guilty to dealing in cannabis, as well as possessing drugs under circumstances denoting that they were not for his own personal use.

The offence was further aggravated by the fact that it allegedly took place within 100 metres of a place where young people habitually met.

When proceedings continued on Tuesday, Inspector Steven-Ryan Micallef testified that the accused had been under round-the-clock police surveillance following confidential information as to the man’s suspected drug dealings.

A search of his apartment, in the presence of the suspect and his wife, had yielded 19 grams of cocaine, seven grams of MDMA, besides the cannabis and several empty sachets, as well as €2500 in cash.

Drugs and cash were found in plastic shopping bags, inside the drawers of a cabinet as well as in the bathroom.

A personal search of the suspect had also yielded drugs, the inspector said, adding that the estimated value of the drugs seized was €40,000.

Under questioning, Smiljanic had told police that he used cannabis on a daily basis, and occasionally also used MDMA and coke.

He kept the drugs in self-sealing bags, like the ones used to pack his children’s lunches or to store loose items, such as buttons.

A ‘keep calm and smoke weed’ sticker was affixed to some of the sealable bags.

When searching the flat, officers had also come across a catalogue with instructions on how to grow cannabis.

The accused’s job history was presented in court by a Jobsplus representative, confirming that Smiljanic had been employed in Malta since 2015.

Defence lawyer Franco Debono argued that the accused had cooperated with police and had strong ties in Malta, pointing out that his children attended a local school.

Upon the additional evidence put forward, a fresh request for bail was upheld by the court, presided over by magistrate Neville Camilleri, against a deposit of €10,000, a personal guarantee of €25,000, the daily signing of the bail book and a curfew between 7pm and 7am.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb are assisting the accused.

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