Drugs and €235,000 cash found in Zabbar man's possession

The restaurant owner charged with money laundering and drug possession was granted bail

Cannabis was also found at the restaurant owner's restaurant
Cannabis was also found at the restaurant owner's restaurant

A restaurant owner from Zabbar has been granted bail on drug and money laundering charges after police searching his home for drugs allegedly found illicit substances and €235,000 stashed there.

Police inspectors Justine Grech and Brian Paul Camilleri charged Patrick Pullicino, 54, with aggravated possession of cocaine, cannabis and psychotropic substances which were found in circumstances which denoted the drugs were not intended for his personal use.

Pullicino was also charged with being in possession of the drugs less than 100 metres away from a place frequented by young people and relapsing.

Prosecuting Inspectors Justine Grech and Brian Paul Camilleri explained how the suspect had been the subject of a search and arrest warrant in September.

An initial search of his Marsascala restaurant had uncovered a small amount of cannabis at the bar. But officers had also discovered persons abusing drugs and others had knocked at the door, calling to buy drugs, while the police were present.

Officers from the Drugs Squad and sniffer dogs had returned to conduct a thorough search of the property. The dogs had led to the discovery of more drugs allegedly hidden behind a sink, Inspector

Grech explained.

In total 15 grams of cannabis grass, 47 grams of cocaine, 17 grams of cannabis resin and a “substantial” amount of cash, were recovered the Court was told.

A subsequent search of the man’s residence had yielded more drugs and €235,000 in cash.

On account of the cash found at his home, the police also charged him with money laundering. He was additionally accused of failing to file his tax returns for the past four years.

He had been arrested back in September 2019 and had been on police bail since then.

Before the court this morning Pullicino pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Inspector Grech objected to a bail request by the accused, citing the serious nature of offence.
But her objection was overruled after lawyer Franco Debono pointed out to the court that the inspector said that the man had already been on police bail.

For this reason, he was temporarily released from arrest on condition that he sign a bail book daily and secure his bail with a €5000 deposit and €20,000 personal guarantee.

A freezing order was also imposed over his assets because of the money laundering charge, leaving him access to just €13,976 annually.

Lawyers Amadeus Cachia and Marion Camilleri also assisted the accused.