A Lithuanian man connected to a record drug haul of almost half a ton of cannabis was denied bail because there was a serious risk of him escaping.

Tomas Mikalauskas, 28, was arrested three months ago together with another four men after a record haul of about 446 kilogrammes of cannabis, almost three times the total seized over the past eight years, having an estimated street value of €1.5 million.

Mr Mikalauskas, together with Serbian national Jovica Kolakovic, 52, are also charged with conspiring to traffic and being in possession of 15 kilogrammes of cannabis plants.

In a court decree, Chief Justice Vincent de Gaetano noted that Mr Mikalauskas had no ties with Malta and there was a "serious danger" of him escaping.

He noted that the Lithuanian consul in Malta had intervened and offered to provide work and accommodation for Mr Mikalauskas but the court ruled such an offer inadequate.

The Chief Justice noted that his refusal to grant bail called for "special diligence" on the part of the courts and warned that he might change his mind if there were unnecessary delays.

A British couple and a Maltese man were also charged in connection with the record haul made on Victory Day, September 8.

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