Dutchman gets eight years for conspiracy to import cocaine

Nelson Arias, 39, known as “Paco”, admitted to conspiring to traffic 675g of cocaine to Malta

The Criminal Court has sentenced a Dutch national to eight years' imprisonment and fined him €6,500 after he admitted to conspiracy to import a cocaine consignment worth €45,000-€70,000.

Nelson Arias, 39, known as “Paco”, admitted to conspiring with a certain Julio Buis from the Dominican Republic, who was to travel from the Netherlands to Malta by air carrying 70 capsules containing 675g of cocaine and deliver the consignment to the accused.

In 2008 Buis was apprehended by the police at the airport after he arrived on a flight Amsterdam to Malta. Buis chose to cooperate with the police and explained that he was under instructions to hand the drugs to the accused.

A controlled delivery was set up and Arias was apprehended as he was handed a bag supposedly containing the consignment of drugs.

Arias chose to plead guilty to avoid a trial by jury.

In spite of the early guilty plea, Judge Antonio Mizzi held that a reduction in punishment was not merited, quoting previous judgments in similar cases which held that the possibility of a reduction in sentence in cases of early admission “may be lost where the offender has been caught red-handed and a plea of guilty was practically certain.”

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