Two Sicilian men have been charged with importing some 40kg of cannabis after the drugs were found in a car in Swieqi on Tuesday.
Giuseppe Vecchia, 36 and Domenico Galante, 46, both of Agrigento, appeared under arrest before magistrate Charmaine Galea this morning. They were charged by Inspector Kevin Pulis with importing cannabis resin, complicity in the importation of cannabis grass and possession of the drug in circumstances denoting that they were intended for trafficking.
The accused men, assisted by lawyers Giannella De Marco and Gianluca Caruana Curran, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Galante is a restaurant owner residing in St. Paul’s Bay. Vecchia said he came to Malta on holiday.
Few details emerged in court today, but the police had released a statement yesterday, announcing that the Drugs Squad had intercepted a vehicle in which fourteen cardboard boxes containing concealed bags of cannabis were found.
The vehicle was being driven by Vecchia who was accompanied by Galante. A Maltese 61-year-old Santa Venera resident is also being interrogated in connection with this case, police have said.
This morning the court also issued a freezing order over all of the men’s funds and property, only allowing them access to just under €14,000 per annum for living expenses – a standard practice in drug trafficking cases.
Bail was not requested. Vecchia and Galante were remanded in custody.