The Malta Independent 23 June 2018, Saturday

Three men charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine, money laundering

Thursday, 14 June 2018, 11:06 Last update: about 9 days ago

Three men have been charged after over a kilogramme of cocaine and €63,000 in cash were found in their car.

Tristen Kyle Pisani, 25, Annajar Osama Soleman, 40, and Aboulqassim Aligheerbi, 32, were arraigned before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit this morning, accused of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of cocaine and money laundering offences.

Inspector Justine Grech explained that the police had been informed of the drug deal and had intercepted the suspect’s car. The Libyans were in the front seats, while Pisani sat at the back. A bag containing 1.5kg of suspected cocaine was found together with €63,000 cash on the passenger seat

Bail was objected to due to the serious nature of the offence and the fact that civilian witnesses were yet to testify. The car belonged to the wife of one of the accused, who was a witness, the court was told; and the other two have no ties to Malta.

Lawyer Franco Debono argued forcefully for bail. The wife of an accused is not a competent or compellable witness, pointed out the lawyer. “We just need to ensure the accused appear when summoned.” The gravity of the offence had to be taken in context of current trends, he said.

Lawyer Roberto Montalto, for Soleman, argued that his client had been charged with being a recidivist but in actual fact he had only been fined over a traffic offence once. “There is no valid reason to withhold bail.”

Aligheerbi’s lawyers Edward Gatt and Veronique Dalli said their client worked at the Libyan embassy and was a “decorous family man.” “The man’s wife is on police bail. If she comes to court, the court cannot even allow her to testify,” explained Gatt.

The court granted the men bail.

Pisani and Osama were released against a deposit of €10,000 and a personal guarantee of €20,000. Al Magharbi was given bail against a deposit of €5,000 and a €25,000 personal guarantee. The three men were also ordered to obey a curfew and sign a bail book daily.

As the case is a drug trafficking one, the men’s assets were also frozen.

 

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