Siblings charged in court after police drugs and weapons bust

Two siblings arraigned in court following major police operation leading to discovery of drugs, weapons and cash

(File photo)
(File photo)

Two siblings have been charged in court after having been arrested on Saturday in a major police operation which led to the discovery of drugs, various weapons and cash.

Annalise Brignone, 34, and her brother Joseph Brignone, 31, both from Cospicua, were arraigned in court on Monday, charged with the aggravanted possession of cocaine, cannabis and psychotropic medications and with money-laundering.

The two were moreover charged committing the said crimes within 100 metres of a place frequented by young people.

Joseph Brignone was also charged with drug trafficking, possessing firearms, handling stolen property and being a recidivist.

The male sibling had been arrested in an operation by drug squad police lasting a number of hours on Saturday.

The police said yesterday that he had been intercepted as he was driving his Mitsubishi SUV in Żabbar, and had initially tried to flee the officers, who gave chase.

He was eventually stopped in Cospicua, with the police finding €6,000 in cash in his car, along with cocaine, a synthetic drug, a gun and a machete.

The police also searched four properties owned by man, finding a considerable amount of cannabis ready to be trafficked, objects relating to drug trafficking, a significant amount of cash and a number of firearms.

Officers also seized various cars: a Toyota Vitz, Mercedes, Mitsubishi Shogun, two BMWs and four motorcycles, all of which belonged to the man, in an operation which ended at 2am on Sunday.

Both submitted a not guilty plea today

Defence lawyer Franco Debono request bail and thanked the court for holding the arraignment session despite the current COVID-19 situation. The lawyer expressed his gratitude to the courts for holding urgent sessions "in a responsible and just  manner" in spite of the current “difficult” circumstances and despite the fact court sessions being indefinitely postponed. Debono invited the court to take those circumstances into consideration in its deliberations on bail.

The court, presided over by Magistrate Rachel Montebello, denied bail, however, in light of the prosecution's arguments on the gravity of the charges faced by the two siblings and the fact that investigations were ongoing.

Inspectors Mark Anthony Mercieca and Eman Hayman prosecuted.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defense counsel.

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