13 years, €23,000 fine for big-time drug trafficker

A man was jailed for 13 years and fined €23,000 after he admitted to having twice trafficked 15 kilogrammes of cannabis

A drug trafficker has been jailed for 13 years and fined €23,000 after he admitted to having twice trafficked 15 kilogrammes of cannabis.

33-year-old St. Julian's resident Jason Farrugia had filed a guilty plea to the charges, which date back to 2009 and 2011, in March this year to avoid a trial by jury.

At the time of his arrest in 2011, Farrugia had also been found have stashed 537 ecstasy pills with a street value of €5,155, as well as 10 grammes of cocaine, together with the cannabis, worth some €97,000, in his garage.

The Criminal Court, with Madam Justice Edwina Grima presiding, weighed the fact that the accused had demonstrated a commitment to changing his ways during his time in custody against the sheer volume of drugs seized crime.

His efforts at involving himself in prison initiatives, such as maintenance and his willingness to take on responsibilities had stood him in good stead. He had received recognition from the Home Affairs Minister for this, the court heard and his probation officer had given Farrugia a glowing review.

The accused had recognised the error of his ways and accepted responsibility for his actions, noted the court.

For his crimes, Farrugia was handed a 13-year sentence and a fine of €23,000 which, if not paid within 12 months would be converted into an additional year of incarceration. He was also given 15 days to pay €6,722 in court expenses, a daunting prospect, due to the fact that all his liquid and fixed assets were also ordered to be be confiscated.

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