Two plead guilty to trafficking 18kg of cannabis

Two men admit to conspiring to traffic drugs and to importing 18 kilos of cannabis resin, after police search their fishing vessel.

Photo released by the Malta Police Force
Photo released by the Malta Police Force

Keith Barbara, 30, of Birgu, and Silvio Apap, 37, of Xghajra, pleaded guilty to trafficking 18 kilos of cannabis resin, which was found onboard the fishing vessel ‘Madonna taz-Zejt’, in Marsaxlokk.

On Sunday 8 January at 2am, officers from the drug squad searched the vessel as it berthed at Marsaxlokk where 18 kg of cannabis resin were found inside a picnic cooler onboard. The two men were charged with conspiring to traffic drugs, importing drugs and aggravated possession.

Barbara is the owner of the fishing vessel, while Apap works in construction. Both pleaded guilty. A pre-sentencing report was requested by the defence.

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale ruled that given the amount of drug found and the accused’s guilty plea, the case is to be sent to the Attorney General to be appointed for a trial by jury.

The men were remanded in custody. The court also ordered the seizure of all assets of the accused but allowed their families to keep receiving social benefits.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Mario Spiteri represented the accused.

Inspector Gabriel Micallef prosecuted.