The Malta Independent 24 June 2018, Sunday

3-year jail term over cocaine, false banknotes

Malta Independent Monday, 20 January 2014, 15:50 Last update: about 5 years ago

A man was jailed for three years and fined €6,000 after he admitted to the aggravated possession of cocaine and to to knowingly possessing false banknotes.

The case dates back to 2006, and 32-year-old Birkirkara resident Edward Zahra told the court that it had proven to be an eye-opener, and that he has since sworn off drugs.

The police had acted on information that a particular car – Mr Zahra’s – was being used by a drug trafficker. The police eventually discovered 32 fake Lm10 banknotes, around 100 pills suspected to contain ecstasy and just under 10g of cocaine, with Mr Zahra helping them find the illicit substances.

The pills actually contained benzylpiperazine, a stimulant drug that was not a scheduled substance at the time, though it has since been made illegal. But the cocaine was confirmed to be just that, albeit at a purity of just 23.6%, and Mr Zahra thus incurred an aggravated possession charge.

Mr Zahra, who has since married, had testified that he had broken up with the mother of his son shortly before his arrest, and started taking cocaine with his friends. He insisted that he found the false banknotes in a wallet, and that he knew that they were fake: he claimed he was only using them to snort cocaine. He also said that he used the bills as downers after taking cocaine.

Magistrate Miriam Hayman had deemed this explanation not to be credible, however, and did not believe that the cocaine was intended for his sole personal use.

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