Two men were remanded in custody on Sunday after pleading not guilty to a raft of drug and money laundering charges following a police raid on Saturday. 

The two were arrested after a number of searches turned up an illegal haul of drugs, cars, gold and cash with a total value of nearly €800,000.

Before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, the police first charged Dean Martin, 40, from Santa Lucija, who was accused of drug trafficking, possession of several kilograms of cocaine, laundering money and relapsing. 

Martin, who has a history of drug-related court cases, was arrested following several weeks of police observation. 

The court heard how the anti-drug squad officers pounced on Martin’s car where they found two kilos of cocaine and more than €8,500 in cash. Another 3.5 kilos of cocaine were found in a garage in Marsa. The total street value of the drugs found was around €350,000.

Martin pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. He was remanded in custody. 

The police then arraigned the second man arrested by the police during Saturday’s operation, 29-year-old Melvin Debono from Paola.

The court heard how nothing was found on him but searched at his home yielded a small amount of cocaine and cannabis, around 100 grams in total which was found in the kitchen cupboards, as well as some €87,000 in cash, around €80,000 worth of gold and other jewellery, including a Rolex watch, and two cars, a Range Rover and Mercedes, with a total value of around €240,000.

Debono, who was charged with drug trafficking, conspiracy to deal in drugs and a number of other money laundering offences, was remanded in custody. He was also charged with breaching the conditions of three bail decrees handed down by three different magistrates. 

He court ordered that the men’s assets be frozen. 

Police inspectors Mark Anthony Mercieca, Steven Ryan Micallef and Omar Caruana led the prosecution. 

Lawyer Roberta Bonello Spiteri appeared for Martin while lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel to Debono. 

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