[WATCH] Updated | Drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi used Wardija farmhouse as drugs lab, court hears

There was tight security in court as the compilation of evidence against alleged drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi got underway

Suspect Jordan Azzopardi (inset) and the property he leased in Wardija which was used as a drug lab
Suspect Jordan Azzopardi (inset) and the property he leased in Wardija which was used as a drug lab
Drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi used Wardija farmhouse as drugs lab, court hears

Security officers carrying tactical shotguns, submachineguns and wearing bulletproof vests patrolled the corridor as the compilation of evidence against suspected drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi and his girlfriend began in court this afternoon.

The woman, hands heavily tattooed, entered the courtroom first. Azzopardi entered later, sitting on the far side of the bench.

The cases against the two are separate but are being heard simultaneously for the time being for logistical reasons.

Inspector Mark Anthony Mercieca took the witness stand before magistrate Doreen Clarke.

On 13 March police had acted on a warrant of arrest issued on serious suspicion that he was trafficking drugs. In the past months, the police were informed that Azzopardi was equipping a number of properties for the production and selling of drugs. The police carried out surveillance.

Security was tight inside and outside the law courts
Security was tight inside and outside the law courts

The first raid was in 2013 in Birkirkara, in which a number of persons were arrested. The second was in Gzira in 2019.  An individual had been arrested and released a statement saying that he would buy drugs from Azzopardi from residences in Balzan and Marsa. 

Surveillance on the Balzan property turned out negative.  The raid on the Marsa property led to further arrests and successful arraignments resulting in jail sentences.

A raid at a Pieta property arrested a low-level drug pusher who had been attacked with a knife by the accused, and who had later confessed that the drugs belonged to Jordan Azzopardi.

Vats of acid which would be used to destroy drugs in case of a raid were found on the property. 

An inmate at Corradino Correctional Facility had then told the police that the accused had sold him an AK47, telling the police of the violence Azzopardi would use against his staff and the users who would be in his garage.

Police had received information about false banknotes which he was allegedly using. He was placed under surveillance and followed. He would send in Mario Abdilla who would pay for small items with a fake €100 note and give the change to Azzopardi. Abdilla admitted to related charges during his arraignment earlier this week.

When Azzopardi was going to be arrested in Gharghur he had tried to escape and was apprehended by the police several blocks away. His female companion was also arrested nearby.

She had opened the door to the accused’s residence for the police, who found foil with traces of substance in common areas. During the search two mobiles, two joints and 8 keys in two batches and an iPhone were found.

Inside the kitchen, a jar of cannabis buds and two piles of cash amounting to approximately €600 were found, together with fake banknotes.

A knuckleduster, sunglasses and a laptop were seized from his bedroom.

Amongst the items found, the police had found a keychain marked as “ta’ Liberat”. Police had observed Azzopardi entering a farmhouse at ta’ Liberat, limits of Wardija previously. He had told the police that the keys belonged to a garage on a friend’s property.

The inspector said that Azzopardi had slipped and fell down some stairs whilst in police custody and was taken to hospital. He was discharged from hospital after an hour and the police took him straight to the ta’ Liberat farmhouse.

From inside the kitchen of the residence, burnt foil was found and a sock with “Jordan” embroidered on it.  Drug paraphernalia, several batches of rounds of various calibres were also found.

He had told the police that he had a firearm next to his bed. A loaded handgun was found, together with passports, iPhones and other items.

In another room, a table cooker with plastic bottles of ammonia and coins and more suspected drugs were found, together with several ladles and sieves coated with traces of a white substance.

Plastic sachets, Digital weighing scales and foil containers with the white substance were also recovered, as were a number of coins.

Abdilla who was going to launder the fake €100 notes, would get €10 from every banknote laundered. When clean funds were obtained, he would pass them on to the woman. She was questioned by the police but didn’t answer any questions. Jordan Azzopardi was also questioned and didn’t answer aside from saying that he had a big drug problem.

A drugs squad Sergeant took the stand after the inspector. He had followed Mario from a burger outlet as he entered several commercial establishments, paying with fake €100 notes, he said.

The case is expected to continue in two weeks' time.

Lawyers Alfred Abela and Arthur Azzopardi are counsel to Jordan Azzopardi and the woman.

Inspectors Mark Mercieca, Justine Grech and Shaun Friggieri prosecuted.

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