Drug-smuggling Libyan and Somali asylum seekers causing police headaches, court told

A large number of Libyan and Somali nationals, seeking asylum in Malta, are involved in the drugs trade, stated a police inspector

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
26 September 2017, 4:15pm
According to the court, the accused had just pulled out a sachet of marijuana from his shoe and handed it to her when the police moved in
According to the court, the accused had just pulled out a sachet of marijuana from his shoe and handed it to her when the police moved in
A police inspector has stated that a large number of Libyan and Somali nationals, seeking asylum in Malta, are involved in the drugs trade, observing that despite all the efforts to curb it, law enforcement was seemingly unable to stem the influx of drugs from Africa.

This emerged as a 27-year-old Libyan asylum seeker was arraigned before magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera after being arrested, while trying to sell drugs to a young Italian couple in Paceville in the early hours of this morning.

Ahmed Al Allagi, who lives in shared accommodation in Msida, was arrested in St. Augustine Street, St. Julians, after police moved in after they spotted him selling cannabis.

The Italian couple, who were presented as witnesses this morning told the court that the accused had stopped them and offered them marijuana.  

“I had never tried drugs and wanted to try it for the first time,” the woman said. The accused had just pulled out a sachet of marijuana from his shoe and handed it to her when the police moved in. Although the drugs were found on her person, the woman explained that she hadn’t paid for the drugs at that point, as they were still negotiating a price.

She had already paid a fine for possession of the drugs, she said.

The male Italian told a similar story. The couple had been in their hotel last night and had decided to go out for a walk, where they came across the accused. Al Allagi had asked them if they needed anything.

“He showed me what he had, a bag of marijuana. As we were looking at it, the police arrived.” The Libyan had asked for €20 for the drugs. “It was in my girlfriend’s hands but we had not bought it at that point.” Asked by the prosecution about the where the man had been carrying the drugs, he said that the accused had been storing the drugs in a plastic sachet in his right shoe.

Al Allagi, represented by lawyer Patrick Valentino, pleaded not guilty and requested bail, which was objected to by the prosecution, on a number of grounds.

Prosecuting Police Inspector Trevor Micallef pointed out that Al Allagi had also been arrested when he first arrived in Malta for using a false document, but had subsequently claimed asylum.

The court granted Al Allagi bail, against a deposit of €1000 and a personal guarantee of €2000 and ordering him to obey a curfew, but he is understood to have been remanded in custody after being unable to provide the deposit.

“A lot of Libyans and Somalis who come here seeking shelter are being found with drugs,” observed the Inspector, later commenting that the relentless onslaught - and the additional administrative workload it caused - was having a negative effect on the morale of his officers.  

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...