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Libyan heroin trafficker jailed for eight years

A Libyan was this morning jailed for eight years and fined €23,000 after he pleaded guilty to trafficking and importing 800 grammes of heroin.

Haithem Swissi, 27, admitted the charges against him to avoid facing a trial by jury.

Mr Swissi admitted to importing the heroin, which was hidden in a false bottom of a suitcase on June 26, 2007.

He was arrested with Emad Ibrahim Wadi, who will be facing a jury on Monday.

Mr Swissi also pleaded guilty of conspiring to import drugs.

Mr Swissi and Mr Wadi had bought two airline tickets to Malta and flew here from Libya on the same day.

When their plane arrived in Malta and landed at MIA, customs officials stopped Mr Swissi and found the heroin, valued at around €56,600, in his suitcase.

Meanwhile, Mr Wadi managed to get away from the airport.

However, he was later caught by police officers when he tried to leave Malta for Libya in the evening.

In handing down judgement, Mr Justice Michael Mallia noted that even though Mr Swissi pleaded guilty before a jury was formed, his plea could not be considered an early one because he did not file it during the judicial proceedings.

He also took into consideration all the circumstances of the case including Mr Swissi’s age, the amount of drugs imported and recent judgements where similar pleas had been filed.

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