Reformed addict gets 18 months in jail for 2011 drug heroin bust

34-year-old man who concluded a drug rehabilitation programme jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of heroin possession.

A reformed drug addict, who concluded a drug rehabilitation programme, was today handed an 18-month imprisonment term and fined €2,500 after the court found him guilty of being in possession of 66 grams of heroin in 2011.

Jonathan Bonello, 34, of Attard, was arrested on Boxing Day 2011 after he was found to be in possession of heroin that denoted that it was not for his personal use, and was subsequently charged with drug trafficking and relapsing.

Bonello had graduated from a drug rehab programme six months ago, and had in the meantime secured himself full-time gainful employment at a major manufacturing company.

Presided by Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, the criminal court heard that Bonello was arrested after he was spotted approaching Mario John Debono – a man on whom the police found a sachet of heroin.

The court heard that Bonello denied selling the drugs to Debono but a subsequent police search at Bonello’s home in Attard yielded 66.49 grams of heroin in three sachets.

Moreover, police found several empty plastic sachets, three weighing scales, other drug paraphernalia, and €1,710 in cash.

In his statement to the police, the accused admitted that he had a severe drug problem and addicted to heroin, while his mother said that her son had been an addict for the past seven years.

In its submissions, the defence underlined that Bonello managed to kick his habit and that he was regularly passing drug tests. The defence also said that the accused should be acquitted of drug trafficking because it had not sufficiently proven the charges.

Through a pre-sentencing report, Bonello's probation officer said the accused had managed to reform.

However, notwithstanding Bonello’s reform, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras said that despite the accused’s improvement, the court could not ignore the fact that he was caught with more than 66 grams of heroin, which was enough to prepare 660 sachets for sale.

Consequently, the Magistrate found Bonello guilty of possession of heroin, and jailed him for 18 months.

Bonello was also ordered to pay almost €2,000 in court expenses.

Police Inspector Herman Mula prosecuted.