Car's cardboard number plate led to drug discovery, court hears

Four youths are accused of drug trafficking, as the court heard that the sight of a carboard number plate in a roadblock prompted an inspection, which resulted in the discovery of more than 90 sachets of cocaine and heroin

A cardboard number plate on a car used by four youths who were accused of drug trafficking proved to be their undoing, a court was told today, as the compilation of evidence against them continued.

Police Inspector Mark Cremona took the witness stand before magistrate Elaine Rizzo as the compilation of evidence against 25-year-old Sheridan Lee Grech from Cospicua, 24-year-old Nicole Micallef from Msida and 20-year-old Mattheas Borg from Luqa continued on Monday. 

Criminal proceedings against Borg’s 14-year-old girlfriend, who was also inside the vehicle at the time, are being heard by the Juvenile Court.

Some 41 sachets of what police suspect to be cocaine and heroin were discovered in the car circumstances which indicated they were not for personal use. Grech is also accused of being in possession of another 52 sachets of cocaine and heroin which were found in his underwear. He was also charged with illegally carrying pepper spray, breaching bail and recidivism.

Borg alone is charged with possession of a knuckle duster and a stun gun, with Micallef also being charged with carrying a stun gun and recidivism.

Inspector Cremona said that police manning a roadblock in Marsa on March 11 noticed a car approaching, observing that its front number plate was made of cardboard and decided to pull it over.

As the officers approached the car, they noticed a strong smell of cannabis wafting out of the vehicle, in which there were three passengers besides the driver. 

Of the car’s two female passengers, one was a minor, said the inspector. “As soon as she [the minor] got out of the car it was clearly visible that she was carrying sachets of cannabis.” The driver, Sheridan Lee Grech, was found to be carrying illegal items and what police suspected to be cocaine on his person, said the inspector.

The three passengers were also frisked, resulting in the discovery of a black pouch containing a grinder and cannabis, as well as a plastic knuckle duster. 

“On his own initiative, Sheridan then handed over sachets of what appeared to be heroin.” said the inspector, which he also exhibited, together with €253 in cash which were also found in the defendant’s possession.

A subsequent search at Grech’s residence recovered four mobile phones from his bedroom together with pepper spray and four further cannabis grinders, all of which were then passed on to a court expert for analysis.

Mattheas was not found to be carrying anything illegal on his person, but inside a brown pouch that he had been holding, police discovered a taser torch and brass knuckles. More cash and mobile phones were also retrieved from his possession. 
Nothing illegal was found in Borg’s Luqa home or in Micallef’s residence in Msida, he said. 

After today's sitting, Micallef was released on bail against a €2,000 deposit and a €5,000 personal guarantee, while Grech was also granted bail, secured by a €3,500 deposit and a €6,000 personal guarantee.

Lawyers Jacob Magri, Franco Debono and Edward Gatt represented the accused.