Witness testifies behind closed doors in Jordan Azzopardi drug trafficking case

Azzopardi stands accused of being the mastermind behind a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring

Jordan Azzopardi
Jordan Azzopardi

A police inspector has testified behind closed doors as magistrate Doreen Clarke continued to hear evidence against suspected drug dealer Jordan Azzopardi and his girlfriend this morning. 

Security was tight, as is always the case when the pair are in the dock, with correctional officers armed with submachineguns patrolling the corridors of the court.

A number of witnesses took the stand with Inspector Frank Anthony Tabone from the Drugs Squad being first to testify. He told the court about the investigation which led to the raid on Azzopardi’s sophisticated drug trafficking operation.

“The drugs squad was receiving a lot of information about a certain Jordan Azzopardi in October. The Police were told that he was trafficking drugs from a garage in Birkirkara,” said the inspector.

He explained that covert observation of a number of persons, known to the police as drug users, going and coming from the garage confirmed their suspicions.

Police had subsequently raided the garage, which was secured with a second metal door behind the outside-facing garage door. Inside there were sofas and a counter. Cash and drug trafficking paraphernalia were also found on the premises and seized as evidence.

CCTV cameras installed inside the garage were noted and footage from them was taken into evidence, he said.

At the back there was an area which was closed off, in which more drug paraphernalia, a box for money and a notebook were found, he said. This area was not accessible to everyone, but only to the person selling the drugs from there, Tabone explained.

16 people had been arrested inside the premises. Amongst those arrested, Axel Vella took responsibility for the garage. But the police learned that the garage was owned by a certain Charles Chircop, who had later told them that he had rented it out to Jordan Azzopardi and showed officers the contract of lease.

The garage had double doors, he said. On the outside were regular metal garage doors, but just inside lay a second set of doors, barred and with several large bricks securing them shut.

A patient from Mount Carmel Hospital who was summoned to testify, opted not to after being cautioned that his testimony could possibly incriminate him.

Representatives from Go and Vodafone were also summoned to exhibit records relating to several numbers requested by the court.

Inspector Nicholas Vella took the stand next, and testified about a separate but connected investigation. The court ordered the press and the public out of the courtroom for around 20 minutes while the inspector testified.

Later, lawyer Franco Debono harried the prosecution about how many witnesses were left to testify, as this was one of the reasons for which bail had been refused to Azzopardi.

Debono asked that the civilian witnesses be identified so he could ask for bail. The court was told that two civilian witnesses, who had been identified through earlier testimony, were yet to testify.

The court put the case off till Friday 23 August for a decision on the accused’s bail application.

Inspector Mark Mercieca prosecuted. Lawyer Franco Debono assisted the accused.