A man found in possession of some €300,000 worth of cocaine by police acting on a tip-off about a suspected drug deal on Saturday, was remanded in custody upon arraignment on Monday.
Darren Steven Formosa, a 59-year-old Kalkara resident, was tracked down inside a van which police monitored and followed before they intervened, blocking the driver.
A search of the vehicle yielded some five kilos of cocaine. A sachet of whitish substance was also found during a personal search of the suspect.
A third party, who was driving another vehicle in the area, was suspected of being linked to the planned drug deal.
Formosa was on Monday charged with possession of cocaine under circumstances denoting that the drug was not intended for his exclusive use.
He pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution explained that the seized drug had been packaged into five packets, approximately one kilo each and that the total market value of the drug was around €300,000.
A request for bail was objected to in light of the fact that investigations are ongoing and civilian witnesses are still to testify.
After hearing submissions, the court, presided over by Magistrate Abigail Critien, turned down the request in light of the nature of the charges and the risk of tampering with evidence.
The court upheld the prosecution’s request for a freezing order over all the assets of the accused.
Defence lawyers José Herrera, Matthew Xuereb and Martina Herrera pointed out that the accused had health issues. They requested that he be examined by a doctor in prison and assigned to a division as best deemed fit.
The court upheld the request and made the recommendation to the prison director accordingly.
Inspectors Jonathan Cassar and Alfredo Mangion prosecuted.