Updated 2 | Three men charged after massive 200kg cannabis haul

Police arraigned three men on charges related to the importation and trafficking of cannabis

Three men have been arraigned in court after having been arrested yesterday in connection with a massive haul of 200kg of cannabis, after police raided a truck in Ta’ Qali on Thursday.

Francesco Pisano, 41, a construction worker from Syracuse, Sicily appeared before magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, accused of conspiracy to traffic cannabis resin, conspiracy in the importation of the drugs and aggravated possession.

Prosecuting Inspectors Frank Anthony Tabone and Anthony Scerri told the court that on 26 July, their officers had arrested the accused after 90kg cannabis resin was found in his truck. The boxes he was carrying in the truck's container held another 110 kg of the drug.

The court was asked to order him to suffer costs and to seize all his funds and property.

Pisano pleaded not guilty. He was remanded in custody.

Lawyer Mario Spiteri Bianchi said he would not be requesting bail at this stage.

A second man, Dennis Agius, was then charged with conspiracy and complicity in the importation of drugs.

Inspector Tabone told the magistrate how Agius had been arrested in connection with a controlled delivery of the drugs which were concealed in a consignment of watermelon.

The accused had been observed waiting for the consignment at a garage in Luqa which was still under construction. He was then arrested as the drugs were being unloaded.

Agius, a 28- year-old project manager from San Gwann was also charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The court was again asked to order Agius to suffer costs and to seize all his funds and property. His lawyers, Marion Camilleri and Amadeus Cachia entered a not guilty plea on the man’s behalf. Bail was not requested.

Fruit seller Antonio Rametta, 30, from Francoforte in Sicily was the third man charged after the operation.

Lawyer Josette Sultana, appointed legal aid to the accused, did not contest the validity of the arrest.

Inspector Tabone told the court that Rametta had been the addressee of the consignment together with Agius. He was arrested unloading the watermelons into the Luqa garage.

As in the previous cases, the man’s assets were frozen.

Bail was not requested.