Two men arrested some three weeks ago by the Drugs Squad in Żejtun after a massive 130 kilogram cannabis haul, with an estimated street value of between €3 and €4 million, have been granted bail.
Jonathan Cassar, 34, and Jerome Azzopardi, 21, both from Cospicua, were targeted in an anti-drug operation and had been arrested while driving a van into a garage which yielded the massive cache.
The two men had pleaded not guilty to their alleged involvement in a drug-trafficking conspiracy and aggravated possession of cannabis. Mr Cassar was separately charged with being a relapser.
Prosecuting Inspector Jonathan Cassar had testified how the operation had yielded 15 suitcases stuffed with some 133.5 kilograms of cannabis, two of them discovered in one vehicle, with the remaining 13 stacked inside another vehicle.
The men had been denied bail upon their arraignment three weeks ago after objections by the prosecution on the grounds that civilian witnesses were still to testify.
As proceedings got underway, a court-appointed scientific expert confirmed that the drug was cannabis with a 23% purity.
After having heard other witnesses, the court, presided over by magistrate Doreen Clarke, upheld a fresh application by the accused’s lawyers, granting Mr Azzopardi bail against a €5,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €15,000.
In view of the relapsing charge, Mr Cassar was granted bail against a higher deposit of €7,000 and a personal guarantee of €13,000.
The case continues.
Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia are counsel to Mr Cassar. Lawyer Roberto Montalto is counsel to Mr Azzopardi.
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