Facebook photos of Maltese couple arrested in Brazil drug sting removed

The Facebook profiles of a Maltese man caught in Brazil red-handed with some 13 kilogrammes of cocaine, and his Romanian partner, have been removed.

The photos and people profiles of Duncan Petroni, 36 of Birkirkara, and his partner Silvia Stanica – which generated so much information and images from their life – have been removed from their Facebook profiles.

The profiles were instrumental in creating connections between the Brazilian reports on Petroni and his partner, and the photos that paid witness to their family life: Petroni was a regular visitor to Brazil, and he posted photos of him wearing the Brazil football gear in which he would be later photographed entering the airport of Curitiba, where he was arrested. A lover of big cars, he posted images of him in a Range Rover, plated DRP007 – DRP short for Duncan Robert Petroni, the 007 for the sleek secret agent he never was.

Beneath the apparent image of friends, a normal family life, and his apparent affluence was another reality: Petroni’s father claimed all his son had in money before leaving for Brazil was just €2,800 left from the sale of his confectionery. Police sources also said Petroni had already been interrogated on various occasions on suspicions on drug trafficking.

Petroni also left Malta with a slew of debt in Malta from unpaid personal loans and other credit claims amounting to some €87,000. In January 2010, a court ordered him to pay back a private loan of €35,679 with interest. Another company he is a shareholder in was facing a €44,000 garnishee order by Bank of Valletta. And credit records also feature a €3,800 garnishee order by Go plc, a private claim of €2,800 filed in court against him, and a dishonoured credit agreement of €1,450.

The Maltese national was arrested in Curitiba, Brazil with his partner Silvia Stanica in a joint US drug enforcement agency (DEA) sting that yielded €1 million worth of pure cocaine. A total of 13kg of cocaine and 400 LSD microdots were seized, all ready to be stashed inside air-conditioning units.

Brazilian Policia Federal released photos of Petroni and Stanica arriving at Curitiba airport, with him decked in his Brazil football shirt. Other photos show the couple being greeted by two friends, and the air-conditioning units he was to stash the drugs in. The cocaine was packed in the compressors of air-conditioning units and was to be exported through normal legal channels by sea.

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Martin Scicluna
If they return to Malta straight to the court and be arrested both of them