Man on trial over drug smuggling plot from Tunisia was 'head of the pyramid', jury hears

Police allege that the accused sent a Maltese man to Tunisia to collect the drugs from a hotel, unaware that Tunisian police officers were aware of the plot and were waiting for him

Prosecutors have described a man on trial over an attempt to smuggle 50kg of cannabis resin from Tunisia as the “head of the pyramid” in the plan to import double that amount.

This emerged as the trial by jury of 52-year-old Ahmed el Fadalli Enan from Egypt continued on Tuesday. Enan is accused of complicity in the attempted importation of 50kg of cannabis in 2010.

The prosecution is alleging that Enan had sent a Maltese man, Tano Farrugia, to Tunisia to collect the drugs from a hotel, unaware that Tunisian police officers who had found out about the plot, were waiting for him. The Tunisian authorities later sentenced Farrugia to imprisonment for 20 years, but he was later released in 2013, together with around 300 other inmates, following an amnesty granted by the Tunisian President, marking two years from the country’s revolution.

Prosecuting lawyers Kevin Valletta and Godwin Cini, from the Office of the Attorney General told Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera that the accused was the “head of the pyramid” of the plan to import 100kg of cannabis into Malta. For his services, Farrugia had been promised €15,000, but the plan had disintegrated after Farrugia’s arrest in the North African country, the court was told.

Farrugia, who cannot be prosecuted  in Malta for his part in the smuggling operation due to double jeopardy,  is expected to testify as a prosecution witness in Enan’s trial.

Jurors heard today how Tano Farrugia’s brother Adrian had filed a report with the Maltese police after he learnt that his brother had been arrested in Tunisia, drugs having been found in his hotel room.

Tano had called his brother, telling him that the Tunisian police wanted him to initiate contact with the person who had sent him to Tunisia, by going to a bocci club to meet a certain Ahmed.

Adrian Farrugia had complied, but when he had spoken to Ahmed, who was later identified as being the accused, the man had initially refused to speak to him, but later admitted to having sent Tano to collect some drugs for him. Farrugia had then filed a police report on the matter.

Enan was arrested on 13 January 2010. A police raid on his home discovered receipts for money transfers sent abroad, which were thought to be connected to the plan. He was charged the next day.

The prosecution also told the jury that the Tunisian police had found receipts indicating that the person who delivered the drugs to Tano Farrugia had been paid through a money transfer sent by the accused. 

The plan was that the next day, Farrugia was to take delivery of another 50kg of cannabis from a boat that would moor in front of the hotel Farrugia had been staying in.

Lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace is defence counsel to the accused.