1.2 kg of 'heroin' only contained 6g of drug, court told

A court-appointed expert reported that the heroin contained 200 times less of the illegal substance than originally alleged

A court-appointed expert has reported that a sample, central to a heroin trafficking case, contained 200 times less of the illegal substance than originally alleged. 

This emerged as criminal proceedings against two men and a woman who were arrested following a raid on stables in Marsa last September continued.

Nicholas Farrugia, 25, from Cospicua and his partner Shana Farrugia, 22, from Ħamrun, were jointly charged with aggravated possession of heroin and conspiracy to traffic 1.2 kilograms of heroin.

The authorities became aware of the drugs, which had been packaged in 12 sachets of around 100 grams each, after they were called to deal with a fire at the stables.

Nicholas Farrugia had also been charged with animal cruelty in view of the fact that animals were being kept in the stables when it caught fire.

Jason Borg, a 39-year-old horse cab driver, owner of the stables in Triq is-Serkin where the raid took place, was also charged with aggravated heroin possession.

But whereas the trio had been alleged to have been in possession of 1.2 kilograms of brown powder, suspected to be heroin, court expert Profs. Emanuel Sinagra reported that the drug was of 0.2-0.5% purity, far less than the normal 15-30%.

When recently testifying in the compilation of evidence, court appointed scientific expert, Sinagra declared that the purity of the drug stood at between 0.2-0.5%, well below the standard which, in similar cases, normally worked out at 15-30%. This meant that a total of only 2.4g to 6g of the drug were present.

This revelation led defence lawyer Franco Debono to question whether the substance qualified as heroin at all, such was its impurity.

The case continues.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi was defence counsel to Nicholas Farrugia.

Lawyer Franco Debono was defence counsel to Shana Farrugia. 

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Alfred Abela were defence counsel to Jason Borg.

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