Paceville restauranteur denies cocaine importation charges

The man was accused of conspiracy to traffic and import cocaine, and aggravated possession of the drug

The owner of a Paceville establishment has pleaded not guilty to importing two kg of cocaine.

Ahmed Elmzouga, 31, from Libya, was arraigned before magistrate Nadine Lia this morning accused of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, importing cocaine and aggravated possession of the drug.

Elmzouga said he owns a Middle Eastern restaurant in the St. Julian's entertainment district.

Inspector Frank Anthony Tabone from the police Drugs Squad, told the court that Elmzouga had been arrested at the airport upon arrival. The man had cooperated with the police, giving them a detailed statement, he said.

The man had denied knowing that his suitcases contained boxes of drugs, but said that he was to pass the suitcases on to a third party whom the police are trying to identify.

Elmzouga pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

The court denied the request, due to the real fear of tampering with evidence and civilian witnesses were yet to testify. The accused could not be trusted to stick to his bail conditions, said the magistrate.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri appeared for the accused.

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