'Heroin Highway' jury begins

Herman McKay, 34, allegedly spread half a kilo of heroin on the road at the time of his arrest in Marsa in August 2007 • Police had received a tip that man was trafficking drugs from his black Mercedes

A road carpeted in heroin is expected to feature prominently in the trial by jury of a man who allegedly spread 500g of the drug on the tarmac as he was about to be arrested by the police in 2007.

A jury, empanelled this morning, will begin hearing evidence against Herman McKay from Marsa, who is accused of trafficking over half a kilo of heroin.

McKay, 34, had been arrested in August 2007 in Triq is-Serkin, Marsa after police were tipped off that he had been dealing drugs from his black Mercedes.

Approaching the area, officers had spotted a group of young people who dispersed when they saw the police. They were all captured later. McKay was amongst them.

When he was approached by the police, the accused had tried to get rid of his car keys, however a police constable managed to get hold of them.

The police pressed the key fob to unlock the car and immediately McKay rushed to the vehicle and retrieved a brown package from a compartment under the armrest. McKay spread the contents all over the road. Police had stopped him as he tried to do the same with another package.

Laboratory tests had confirmed the contents to be 538g of heroin of 23.1% purity, valued at €24,755.

But during the compilation of evidence, a court-appointed expert had established the man only had €1.50 and four horses to his name.

Mighty, Chilly Beast, Osay de Viette, Worg Xing and Marathon d’Isques were the horses owned by McKay, the expert had told the court.

McKay, who had been charged with several offences in the past and who had committed crimes during suspended sentences, was accused of trafficking heroine. The crime carries with it a possible life sentence.

Lawyers Elaine Mercieca and Justine Cilia from the office of the Attorney General are leading the prosecution. Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri are defence counsel.

Judge Antonio Mizzi is presiding.

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