Drug buyer testifies behind closed doors in case against alleged trafficker

The compilation of evidence against Cleven Mallia, 22, from Santa Venera continued today before Magistrate Neville Camilleri

The police charged Cleven Mallia with trafficking, amongst other charges
The police charged Cleven Mallia with trafficking, amongst other charges

A man charged with drug trafficking has been released on bail after nine days under arrest following a police raid on his property.

Cleven Mallia, 22, from Santa Venera stands charged with trafficking cannabis. Today, Magistrate Neville Camilleri heard police inspector Jonathan Cassar testify as to how the arrest was made.

Cassar explained that police had been observing a Kia vehicle which was accessing the common areas of a garage complex. Police had followed the car and noted it conducting strange maneuvers in the Santa Venera village square.

Officers tried to stop the vehicle on suspicion of drug dealing, but the driver had tried to reverse away, before stopping and locking the doors with himself and his alleged buyer inside the car.

Police had to break one of the car windows to gain access to it, arresting the two occupants. Some 10 grams of cannabis and over €3,000 in cash were found inside the vehicle.

Mallia was informed by the officers that they would be searching the garage from which he had been observed leaving earlier that day. They used keys found on his person to open the door. 

Inside the garage a large amount of cannabis and plastic sachets with traces of drugs were found.

The car’s passenger testified behind closed doors today, but during questioning, he had told the inspector that he had been inside the car as he had wanted to buy drugs from Mallia. An exchange of messages found on the two men’s mobile phones confirmed this, Cassar said.

Mallia had released a statement to the police where he had refused to answer some questions but said that he had a drug problem.

A court-appointed expert also testified, confirming to the court that 840 grams of cannabis grass had been recovered from the garage. Traces of drugs were also found on bags, packaging and other objects.

After the main witnesses were heard, the magistrate was able to release the man on bail today. Mallia was released from arrest on condition that he sign a bail book every day, observe a curfew, deposit €3,000 in the registry of the criminal court and provide a personal guarantee of €10,000.

Lawyers Amadeus Cachia and Franco Debono were defence counsel.