Three charged after police raid on Valletta drugs den and Marsa stables

Three are charged with trafficking after police raid on drugs den in Valletta and Marsa stables • Drugs, cash, Rolex watches and jewellery confiscated

Judith Bakoush and Murat Abdikadir Mohammed Nazwan were arrested in a Valletta property where drugs, cash and jewellery were found (Photos: Facebook)
Judith Bakoush and Murat Abdikadir Mohammed Nazwan were arrested in a Valletta property where drugs, cash and jewellery were found (Photos: Facebook)

Three people have been remanded in custody in connection with a police raid on properties in Valletta and Marsa which netted an undisclosed amount of various illegal substances.

Some of the substances found were already packaged for sale.

The arraignments come a day after the police stormed the properties in Old Hospital Street, Valletta and Triq it-Tigrija in Marsa, making 10 arrests.

Judith Bakoush and Murat Abdikadir Mohammed Nazwan, both 31 and residing in Valletta were the first to be arraigned under arrest before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech earlier today.

The pair were charged with trafficking cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana, as well as money laundering.

Asked what they did for a living, Bakoush, who is the subject of several ongoing criminal proceedings, told the court that she was a housewife. Her co-accused said he was unemployed but that he was supported by his family.

Both Bakoush and Nazwan pleaded not guilty.

Defence lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb, asked the prosecution to explain what had led to the arrests.

Police acted on tip off

Police Inspector Kevin Pulis, prosecuting together with inspectors Mark Anthony Mercieca and Mark Cremona, said that the police had investigated information they had received about alleged drug trafficking in Valletta residences, some of which also involved minors.

After obtaining a warrant, the decision to raid the premises was taken and Special Intervention Unit teams were employed to gain access to one Valletta property, which was described in court as having been fortified.

Five persons were arrested as they left the premises, said the inspector. Their statements were taken and charges issued against the two accused.

Replying to a defence question about the drugs discovered, the inspector revealed that 20 sachets of a white substance thought to be crack cocaine, were found, ready for trafficking. Heroin, cannabis grass and synthetic drugs were also found, replied the inspector.

Woman sobs for son

While the inspector was testifying, Bakoush was ordered out of the courtroom by the magistrate after she was heard to comment that the amount of drugs found was “not that much.”

But besides the drugs, thousands of euros in cash were also discovered stashed inside the property together with a considerable amount of gold items, necklaces, luxury watches and designer clothes, added the prosecution. The accused were already on bail for drug trafficking and are under a freezing order, so the source of their funds was highly suspect, the court was told.

After calling Bakoush back into the courtroom, the woman tearfully told the court that she was going through a “traumatic time.”

“It’s not because I'm going to prison, but because of my son,” she said before breaking down into loud sobs.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech upheld a request for another freezing order over the assets of the accused. Bail was not requested.

Stables owner charged

Next to be arraigned was Joseph Borg, 50, who owned horse stables where a person involved in the criminal activity relating to the previous arraignment was traced to. Subsequent searches of the stables in Marsa recovered more drugs and the man was then arrested, said the prosecution.

Defence lawyers Charles Mercieca and Ana Thomas entered a not guilty plea on the man’s behalf. Bail was not requested.

The police investigations into the other seven persons arrested are understood to be ongoing.