Malta’s ‘El Chapo’ told Facebook his pet Pomeranian was missing. He then got arrested

If you’re a drug lord, don’t use social media…

At 29, suspected drugs kingpin Jordan Azzopardi was carrying out a veritable drug production operation from inside a rural villa in Wardija. According to police, the man dubbed ‘the Maltese El Chapo’ had 40 people working for his drug production operation. Going by the claims of one prison inmate, who allegedly bought an AK47 off Azzopardi, the boss was uninhibited about using violence against his own staff.

But it was losing his pet Pomeranian, and his careless request on Facebook asking people for help to find his beloved dog, that brought police down on him. Azzopardi announced a €5,000 reward for his lost dog on Facebook, which led police to his whereabouts, who monitored him after reports came in of a counterfeit money scam being carried out across various Sliema shops.

Together with his girlfriend, a mother of five, Azzopardi was reportedly sending out 66-year-old Mario Abdilla with counterfeit cash, paying him €10 each time he buys a small article with €100 notes, bringing back home the real cash. Abdilla has pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to three years in jail.

Azzopardi, who has pleaded not guilty to the trafficking charges, was located in his black car, licensed JMS-511, with his girlfriend when he was arrested in the McDonald’s parking area in Gharghur. He made an attempt to escape as he was being handcuffed, but was recaptured immediately.

At his €4,000-a-month Madliena villa, police fond drug paraphernalia, computer laptops, weapons and cash. There they found the key to his Wardija farmhouse in the area known as Ta’ Liberat, in Wardija. There police found passports, a loaded handgun, iPhones, a table cooker with plastic bottles of ammonia and coins, 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.

In court on Wednesday, security officers carrying tactical shotguns and SMGs, wearing bulletproof vests, patrolled the corridor of the law courts as the compilation of evidence against Azzopardi and his girlfriend began in court.

The woman, hands heavily tattooed, entered the courtroom first. Azzopardi, 29, 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.

Police had already carried out a raid in 2013 in Birkirkara, and in 2019 in Gzira in connection with Azzopardi, who reportedly sold his merchandise 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 Pietà 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.

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