A passenger caught with 1.2kg of cannabis hidden inside his suitcase at the airport will be kept in police custody after he was charged in court on Saturday. 

Spanish-born Abel Hernandez Vazquez, 32, had just landed at Malta International Airport on Thursday on board a flight from Madrid when routine screening flagged something suspicious inside his luggage. 

Upon closer inspection, the luggage yielded a plastic bag containing over one kilo of cannabis plant and some 100 grams of a brownish substance, suspected of being cannabis resin. 

The man was arrested and charged with importation of cannabis plant and cannabis resin, cannabis trafficking, possession of the drugs under circumstances denoting that they were not intended solely for personal use, as well as simple possession of the drugs. 

He pleaded not guilty but no request for bail was put forward at the arraignment stage. 

The court, presided over by magistrate Ian Farrugia, upheld a request by the prosecution for a freezing order upon all assets of the accused.

Inspector Alfredo Mangion prosecuted. 
Lawyers Joseph Calleja and Natalino Caruana de Brincat were defence counsel. 

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