Drug ring ferried cannabis between Malta and Sicily via speedboat, court told

Duo caught with 70kg cannabis haul sit in court

The racket used fast speedboats to move drug hauls between Malta and Sicily. Photo: Shutterstock

The racket used fast speedboats to move drug hauls between Malta and Sicily. Photo: Shutterstock

A Maltese man and a young Italian woman caught red-handed with 70kg of cannabis at Għadira Bay, sat in the dock today as their lawyers sought to get them released on bail. 

Michael Aquilina, 44, and Greta Grassi, 22, were arrested on September 7 after police surveillance revealed a drug trafficking racket which used speedboats to ferry drugs between Malta and Sicily.

The two were stopped by police as they were about to drive off in their car with some 70kg of cannabis resin in their luggage booth. Others on a speedboat which had just entered the bay also assisted police in the ensuing investigations.

Defence lawyers assisting the co-accused today discussed issues relating to bail. 

The prosecution informed the court that four other persons had been arrested over their suspected involvement in the same racket. Two of these were currently still under investigation while the other two were not.

“It was indeed heartbreaking to meet Ms Grassi in prison,” declared lawyer Roberto Montalto. “ I saw before me a girl” he continued, prompting the court to remark that a 22-year old was certainly not a girl.

Watching over the proceedings were two relatives of the Italian woman. One of these was her aunt who had travelled purposely to Malta and was due to depart on Saturday. The court was informed that this lady had provided her niece with material and emotional support for the past 12 years, ever since the girl's mother had passed away.

The court, presided over by magistrate Neville Camilleri, adjourned the case to later on this month, when all four civilian witnesses will testify before deciding upon the bail request.

Earlier in today's sitting, court-appointed expert Profs Emanuel Sinagra testified that he had tested the suspected drug and found it to be cannabis. He is to conduct further analysis so as to indicate the value of the substance discovered in the haul.

Inspector Justine Grech prosecuted. Lawyers Roberto Montalto and Gianluca Caruana Curran were defence counsel to Ms Grassi. Lawyer Kathleen Calleja Grima was defence counsel to Mr Aquilina.