Convicted murderer jailed for five years for drug trafficking

34-year-old convicted murderer jailed for further five years after prison wardens found heroin and cannabis in accused’s underpants.

A convicted murderer currently serving a life sentence for murdering a policeman during a hold-up in 2001 has been jailed for a further five years after he was found trafficking drugs in prison.

Andy Calleja, 34, of Xghajra, also admitted to being in possession of 19.5 grams of heroin and 4.8 grams of cannabis in circumstances that denoted that they were not for his exclusive use.

The court heard that the incident dates back to 11 October, 2005, when the drugs were found to be in the accused’s underpants during a strip search by prison wardens at Corradino Correctional Facility.

Calleja is currently serving a life sentence after he admitted to shooting police constable Roger Debattista in 2001. Calleja had admitted to the charges instead of standing trial by jury.

The police constable was shot dead during a hold-up at a BOV branch in Qormi, when four hooded men – including the accused – entered the bank demanding money before making off with LM1,000.

Even though Calleja admitted to drug trafficking, Magistrate Marseann Farrugia argued that the sentence should not be mitigated because the guilty plea had been registered towards the end of proceedings when the prosecution had already proven its case “beyond reasonable doubt.”

Moreover, the court held that even though Calleja has been drug-free for three years after he successfully underwent a drug rehabilitation programme, he should nevertheless face the music for drug trafficking.

In her decree, the Magistrate noted that Calleja has a lengthy criminal record, and has in the past been found guilty of 12 previous convictions, ranging from theft to murder.

She consequently jailed him for five years and fined €4,000.

Assistant Commissioner Norbert Ciappara prosecuted.