A confidential tip-off about a suspected drug deal led police to discover around 300 grams of cocaine stuffed inside a car seat cushion.
Melvin Debono, a 30-year old car dealer from Paola, was spotted inside that car alongside a third party by police, who had been informed that a drug deal was about to take place on Wednesday.
Officers spotted Debono and the other person close to a car showroom and moved in to arrest the suspect. A third party who was seen in contact with the suspect inside the car was also arrested.
The police found the cocaine in an ensuing search, prosecuting inspector Justine Grech informed the court.
Debono was duly given his legal rights, even in writing, and was told of the reason for his arrest.
Upon arraignment the accused pleaded not guilty to alleged involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy, unlawful possession of the drug since February to date, breaching four bail decrees as well as relapsing.
A request for bail was strongly objected to not only in view of the gravity of the charges but also on the strength of the accused’s criminal record, which reflected his unruly character.
“He has been given more than one chance of bail,” stressed the prosecutor, adding that since a civilian witness was still to testify there was “great and real” fear of tampering with evidence.
Defence lawyer Franco Debono countered that the amount of drug involved, though not minimal, was not at the “higher end of the spectrum.”
Moreover, evidence was preserved in the relative magisterial inquiry.
After hearing submissions by both parties duty magistrate Ian Farrugia denied bail in view of the gravity of the charges, the fact that investigations were still ongoing, the accused’s unruly character and the fear of tampering with evidence.
The court upheld the request for a freezing order upon all assets of the accused.
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