Joseph Brignone had guns, drugs, cash and cars police tell court

The compilation of evidence against Joseph Brignone continues as court hears how police found drugs, weapons, cash and cars when the man was arrested following a lengthy surveillance operation

Joseph Brignone posing at his home with a rifle, which was one of the weapons recovered by police
Joseph Brignone posing at his home with a rifle, which was one of the weapons recovered by police

Firearms, drugs and large amounts of cash were found in the possession of a man accused, together with his sister, of trafficking drugs and money laundering, a court has heard.

Inspector Mark Anthony Mercieca from the police drugs squad took the stand, amongst other witnesses this morning in the compilation of evidence against Joseph Brignone and his sister Annalise Brignone, both from Bormla.

The siblings are pleading not guilty to aggravated possession of cocaine, cannabis and psychotropic medications as well as money laundering. They were accused of committing these crimes within 100 metres of a place frequented by young people.

Joseph Brignone was also charged with drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, handling stolen property and recidivism. He denies the charges.

Mercieca explained how Joseph Brignone had been the subject of a police surveillance operation for some time. He had been arrested after leading officers on a car chase starting in Zabbar before he was eventually stopped in Bormla.

In his car, police found thousands of euros in cash, cocaine, a synthetic drug, a pistol and a machete.

The police also searched four properties tied to the accused, finding a considerable amount of cannabis ready to be trafficked, objects relating to drug trafficking, more cash and a number of firearms. Notebooks with names and sums, thought to be a list of amounts owed to Joseph Brignone, were also recovered.

Officers also seized various cars: a Toyota Vitz, Mercedes, Mitsubishi Shogun, two BMWs and four motorcycles, all of which belonged to the accused man.

His house was found to be rigged with CCTV cameras and security systems, said the inspector.

Brignone’s sister Annalise was also arrested after returning home because her burglar alarm was set off by the police, Mercieca told Magistrate Neville Camilleri this morning.

Cannabis was found in her kitchen. In her bedroom a pistol, crusher and drugs hidden inside the leg of her bed. €11,080 in cash were also recovered.

Defence lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri formally thanked the court for “showing a great sense of responsibility and justice” by consenting to hold today’s urgent sitting to hear witnesses “in these delicate and difficult times.”

The sitting was held notwithstanding the suspension of all sittings and time frames under legal notices issued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Inspector Eman Hayman also prosecuted.

The case continues on Wednesday.