Drug dealer's wife acquitted of conspiracy to traffic 1kg of cocaine

The woman was handed a parcel which was later found to contain cocaine, but she insisted she had no knowledge of what was inside it

A woman charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs after a police surveillance operation has been acquitted after a court ruled that there was no concrete proof of guilt.

Eleanor Tracy Agius was charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs, aggravated drug possession and money laundering activities after being caught on video taking possession of a parcel handed over by her husband outside their home in Qormi.

The act was witnessed by a police surveillance team who had been tipped off about the delivery of drugs to Stiano Agius, the accused’s husband, back in November 2007.

The day after the surveillance operation, the police searched the couple’s residence where over a kilogramme of white powder, later certified as cocaine, was found inside an unlocked dining-room drawer normally used by the husband. The search had also turned up Lm31,000 (€72,210) in cash stashed in a safe to which Ms. Agius had the key.

The couple were prosecuted, with the husband pleading guilty and being jailed for 11 years, but the wife denied the charges. 

The court heard how on the day that police had been watching the couple’s home, Ms Agius had been away from work on sick leave when her husband had phoned, asking her to meet him outside the house.

When he called, he had handed over a large brown envelope, merely telling his wife to put it in ‘his drawer’, which she did without giving it a second thought.  It was normal for the couple to receive many parcels, often containing oversized clothing for Mr. Agius who would order 6XL sized clothing items from the internet as they were hard to come by locally. 

The next day the woman had received a call from a police Inspector who told her to go home. When she arrived, she was informed of the discovery of the drugs.

The woman had cooperated with investigators, opening the family safe without realizing that she was also a subject of the criminal investigation.

After hearing both the accused and her husband, who also chose to testify in his wife’s case, the court observed that the couple had been consistent in their versions from their early statement to the police up to their deposition in court, five years after the incident.

The man had insisted that he had told no one about the drugs.

The prosecution had argued that the evidence showed that the accused was aware of her husband’s illicit dealings and acted as accomplice.

But aside from the footage showing her taking the parcel from her husband, there was no further evidence to prove that she actually had any control over it or knowledge of its contents.

The prosecution had failed to prove that the parcel seen in the footage was the same as that found a day later inside the couple’s dining room.

The court, presided over by magistrate Neville Camilleri, also observed that unlike her husband, who had been a part-time chauffeur and dealer in cars and horses, the woman had a full-time and long-standing job, had taken a loan to purchase the matrimonial home in her name and was also the registered owner of the couple’s two cars.

The prosecution had failed to prove that the woman was aware that the money brought home by her husband was not from his regular business, the court said.

After discarding the couple’s statements, which had been released without the assistance of a lawyer and weighing up the evidence, the court concluded that the prosecution had not proved the charges against the accused who, unlike her husband, was not known to the police and possessed “a perfectly clean criminal record.”

The court acquitted Ms. Agius of all charges and ordered the destruction of the drugs.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

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