Malta, suspected drug trafficker wanted in Italy given bail
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – A Maltese man who is wanted by the Italian authorities over drug trafficking accusations was released on bail by a Maltese court following the start of new proceedings for his extradition.
The bail was granted under various conditions including the deposit of 20,000 euros, a personal guarantee of 30,000 euros and an order to sign a bail book every day at the police station in Zurrieq.
The new legal process started following a decision by the Court of Magistrates, rejecting a request for extradition by the Italian authorities because of lack of documentation.
J.S., 56 was arrested in June from his private residence in Qrendi and arraigned following the issue of a European Arrest Warrent. After being informed by the court that the Tribunal of Catania was seeking to prosecute him for drug trafficking and conspiracy, chose not to surrender voluntarily to the Italian Authorities.
The extradition request by the Italian authorities is in connection with a large-scale Ndrangheta drug trafficking operation of about 430kg of cociane and cannabis from Albania and the Italian regions of Puglia and Calabria, that were to be trafficked in Sicily and Malta.
Eventually, the drugs were confiscated last year by the Italian Guardia di Finanza during raids which largely were targeting inidviduals from prominent mafia families following four years of investigation. 15 Italian nationals were arrested by the Italian authorities as part of an ant-drug operation nicknamed ‘Operation La Vallettà.
Lawyers defending J.S. claimed that the evidence presented by the prosecution was not enough for J.S. extradition to Italy. They also declared that Spiteri suffered injustice when he was kept in prison for 60 days. According to the defence, the European Arrest Warrant did not satisfy the requirements established by the European law, there was no proof that a domestic arrest warrant was issued in Italy and the extradition document issued by the Attorney General did not satisfy the legal requirments. The defending lawyers also requested the court to hear the testimony of lawyer Gianluca Giulini, the legal representative of J.S. in Italy. They argued that Giulini has information that would explain more Spiterìs role in this case.
The case was adjourned for August 24 when the judgement is expected to be delivered by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.
– foto: ufficio stampa Guardia di Finanza