Inmate jailed for orchestrating prison drug smuggling

30-year-old prison inmate jailed for 11 months, fined €850 after being found guilty of enticing others to smuggle heroin into prison.

Internet photo: smuggling drugs inside a banana
Internet photo: smuggling drugs inside a banana

A prison inmate who has a lengthy criminal record was today jailed for 11 months after she was found guilty of instructing two women to supply her heroin which was found hidden inside a banana.

Elaine Rapinett, 30, of Gzira, who has been in prison for the past six years, was found guilty of instructing Charlotte Vella and Juanita Grech to supply her heroin and smuggle it into prison by hiding in a banana on January 2007.

The court heard that on January 26, 2007, a search on food being entered into the prison by relatives yielded a cardboard tube containing 2.09 grams of heroin hidden inside a banana.

Juanita Grech, who was instructed to smuggle the heroin in prison, told investigators that the drug had been provided by Charlotte Vella, and that it was meant to go to another inmate, Philienne Ceci.

However, the accused dismissed Grech’s version of events, telling the police that she had instructed Grech to supply her with the drugs.

The accused also admitted to police that she had asked Vella to supply the drugs, and for the drugs to be smuggled into prison by Grech. Rapinett also said that she was planning on sharing the heroin with other inmates.

In her judgment, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras found Rapinett guilty of enticing the women to deal in drugs but acquitted her of smuggling the heroin into prison and of being in possession of the drug since the charge was time-barred.

Magistrate Galea Sciberras noted that Rapinett is a repeat offender and that she has in the past been convicted of theft, fraud, causing slight injuries, breach of bail conditions, possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis resin, and also of trafficking heroin.

As a result of these crimes, Rapinett has been conditionally discharged on three separate occasions, placed on a probation twice, handed two suspended sentences, as well as fines, some of which have been converted into prison sentences. The accused has also been jailed for six times and has become “institutionalised” while in prison.

Moreover, a prison officer explained to the court that Rapinett has been registering progress and that four urine samples tested negative for any illicit drugs. The woman’s attitude has also improved, and that as a result of her improvement, she was being trusted more by prison officials.

Consequently, after taking Rapinett’s progress and lengthy criminal record into account, the court jailed Rapinett for 11 months and fined her €850. Rapinett was also ordered to pay an additional €850 in court expenses.

The court also ordered that the drugs be destroyed.

Police Inspector Victor Aquilina prosecuted.

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