Men charged with heroin trafficking were accompanied by 10-year-old during drug deal

Two charged with in connection with the seizure of half a kilogramme of heroin in Żejtun.

File Photo
File Photo

One of two men charged in connection with the seizure of half a kilogramme of heroin in Żejtun was accompanied by a 10-year-old boy, a police inspector has testified.

Francois Zammit, a 45-year-old man from Żejtun was charged first, accused of trafficking heroin and conspiracy to traffic heroin, together with aggravated possession of the drug and recidivism. His lawyers said the man was currently unemployed.

The second man, Kevin Mifsud, 41, was accused of trafficking and conspiring to traffic heroin, as well as aggravated possession of the drug, breaching previously imposed bail conditions and recidivism. A police inspector said Mifsud was accompanied by a 10-year-old boy.

Both men pleaded not guilty when they appeared in separate proceedings in front of magistrate Rachel Montebello on Monday.

Zammit was represented by lawyers Franco Debono, Alfred Abela and Marion Camilleri, while Mifusd was represented by Michael Sciriha and Christopher Chircop.

Police witness Żejtun drug deal

In the first case against Zammit, inspector Marshall Mallia testified that on 27 January police were informed that Mifsud would be involved in a drug deal.

Officers conducting surveillance on the other accused’ bowser truck, had followed him to Żejtun where he was seen meeting with Zammit. The police moved in at this point and discovered a half-kilogramme package of heroin in Zammit’s hands. Investigations established that the defendant had put it in his pocket, but as soon as he saw the police, he had thrown it back in Zammit’s van.

Debono asked whether the arrest took place under a warrant. No warrant because the police were acting on an unconfirmed tip off. Duty magistrate had appointed an inquiry.

Replying to another question from the defence, the inspector said that at the time of his arrest, the man had been given a paper explaining his rights, which were also explained to him.

A not guilty plea was entered on Zammit’s behalf. His lawyers requested bail.

Inspector Mallia objected to his release from arrest, due to the large amount of drugs, ongoing investigations and his criminal record.

In his reply, Debono attempted to minimise the gravity of Zammit’s previous convictions, which date back to 1998, the majority of which were punished by reprimands and admonitions. The inspector pointed out that Zammit had also been handed a suspended sentence last year.

Debono argued that he had not heard any reference to civilian witnesses, which he said, were the greatest obstacle to bail.

The lawyer suppressed a chuckle, turning his head to grin to his colleagues as the magistrate upheld the bail request.

Ordering him not to approach any potential witnesses, the court instructed him to sign a bail book three times a week and observe a curfew.

His bail was secured by a €3,000 deposit and €5,000 personal guarantee. The court also issued a freezing order over all of Zammit’s assets.

In 2020, Kevin Mifsud, 41, a truck driver from Żebbug, had been charged in connection with the trafficking of 34kg of cannabis from Sicily. Those proceedings are understood to still be ongoing.

He pleaded not guilty to Monday’s charges.

Accused accompanied by child during drug deal

Lawyers Michael Sciriha and Christopher Chircop, defence counsel to Mifsud, requested bail.

Inspector Mallia objected to the bail request, pointing out that while he appeared to be the junior partner in the operation, he was also charged with drug trafficking. “At the time of his arrest, the man was accompanied by a ten-year-old boy,” added the inspector, before describing heroin as “the most destructive drug of all.”

Sciriha argued that the man’s previous convictions were mostly contraventions, bar his conviction for keeping an unlicensed shotgun.

There was no mention of witnesses who could be suborned at this stage, said the inspector, caveating this by pointing out that the investigation was still ongoing.

Mifsud’s request for bail was also upheld. He was ordered to sign his second bail book three times a week, and observe a curfew. His adherence to the conditions was secured by a €4,000 deposit and a €6,000 personal guarantee. A freezing order over all Mifsud’s assets was also issued.