Woman jailed 10 years, fined €23,000 for drug trafficking, money laundering
Mobile phone flushed down police HQ toilet
A woman was jailed for 10 years and fined €23,000 today after she admitted drug trafficking, money laundering and loitering for purposes of prostitution.
Lorraine Vella made her admission shortly before she was meant to stand trial by jury.
According to the Bill of indictment a police patrol in Ta' Xbiex and Gzira on August 4, 2007 intercepted a car with two women inside. The officers search the car and the two women. As she came out of her car, Vella threw away a canister which was found to contain drug-related items and some heroin.
Other items used for drug-taking were found in her handbag. A camcorder case found in the car was full of banknotes of various currencies. In all there were Lm10,570, €7,790 and US$1,000. Also found in the car were gold items having a value of €1,824, three ATM cards and a Visa card.
The accused did not cooperate with the police and actually threw her mobile phone down a toilet at police headquarters. The SIM card was never recovered.
Ms Vella claimed she had been keeping the money for a friend, who worked in timeshare, but gave no details about him and did not back her claims.
Investigations held under the authority of a court expert showed that the accused had Lm29,335 in banknotes, US$100 and €200 in a bank's safe deposit box. She never gave a proper explanation on how she got her money.
The police found that she had no job and had been receiving social benefits. It did not appear that she ever inherited any money.
The accused also had three cars.
In all, the police said, a total of €102,600 were found in the possession of the accused apart from the gold.
The police said they had also investigated the accused for loitering and prostitution. A young man had admitted that he had solicited prostitution from her.
Mr Justice Lawrence Quintano in handing down judgement noted a plea bargain agreed between the defence and the prosecution before jailing the accused for 10 years.