Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jun 2004
Source: Times Of Malta (Malta)
Copyright: 2004 Allied Newspapers Limited
Author: Michael Testa
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


The police are holding two men for questioning following the discovery
of 285 cannabis plants in two separate raids on two private residences
in Zejtun yesterday.

This is believed to be the largest haul of cannabis plants in one day
in Malta.

The police drugs squad first raided an old residence in Santa Marija
Street at daybreak.

The occupant, a 42-year-old man from Zejtun, who lives on his own, was
arrested and is expected to be charged in court soon.

Police Superintendent Neil Harrison and Inspector Norbert Ciappara led
the raid and the search, during which, apart from the cannabis plants,
a considerable sum of money and some jewellery were also seized.

For most of the morning the police could be seen removing cannabis
plants from two glasshouses on the roof of the one-storey building.

They found a total of 110 large cannabis plants, a substantial number
of which were one metre high, as well as 84 pots in which seeds had
been planted.

The seizure also included a quantity of cannabis leaves in plastic
bags, which were ready to be marketed, a number of baskets and sacks
containing more dried cannabis leaves, leaves still in the drying
process and a set of reflectors believed to have been used for growing
the plant.

Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera appointed a team of court experts
to help her in an inquiry.

In another raid in the afternoon, the drugs squad found about 175
cannabis plants in a private residence in Il-Mithna Alley in the same
area of the house where the first raid was carried out.

The police said that most of the plants were also up to one metre
high. Items connected with the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis
were found by the police inside the house.

More dried cannabis leaves in plastic bags, also believed to have been
prepared for sale, were found.

The police said the electricity metres at the residence had been
tampered with.

Another 42-year-old man, also from Zejtun, was held for questioning
and is expected to be arraigned shortly, the police said.

Duty Magistrate Giovanni Grixti opened an inquiry.

In January last year the police found about 125 cannabis plants at a
residence in Zejtun, just round the corner from the place raided
yesterday. Some of the plants were over three metres high and were
found in pots and in the grounds of an internal courtyard of the
uninhabited house.

A man from Zejtun and another from Marsascala had been charged in
connection with that case.
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