Phone calls link Mal­tese woman with fel­low ac­com­plices over drug smug­gling from Si­cily

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

The court yes­ter­day heard how the po­lice had been fol­low­ing Rita Sci­cluna, the 41year-old woman from Luqa and Osaro Osarenkhoe who re­sides in Si­cily con­spire to smug­gle drugs to Malta.

The two were ar­rested af­ter the po­lice found four ki­los of cannabis in her car on 14 Septem­ber af­ter they dis­em­barked from the ferry from Poz­za­llo to Malta.

The dis­cov­ery was made thanks to Caeser, a snif­fer dog, in a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the K9 Sec­tion and the an­tidrug squad.

Po­lice In­spec­tor Gabriel Mi­callef told the court that the po­lice had in­for­ma­tion link­ing the woman to the ac­com­plice. He ex­plained that the two were seen to­gether in Si­cily, did the check-in to­gether be­fore em­bark­ing on the ship to Malta, but went sep­a­rate ways while on the boat.

Rita Sci­cluna dis­em­barked driv­ing her Toy­ota Vitz, while Mr Osarenkhoe, the sus­pected ac­com­plice, was seen dis­em­bark­ing on foot.

A po­lice of­fi­cer told Mag­is­trate Neville Camilleri that he could ob­serve the ac­cused walk­ing and no­ticed how he stayed look­ing at the white car which had just been stopped by the po­lice for in­spec­tion.

The po­lice stopped the Nige­rian man, con­ducted a search on his per­son and found noth­ing.

How­ever, po­lice of­fi­cers who stopped the car which was be­ing driven by Sci­cluna, found four ki­los of sus­pected cannabis. The drug was found in two sep­a­rate bags un­der­neath the car bon­net cov­ered with a cloth. It was the dog, Caeser, who sniffed the car and sud­denly halted at the front end of the car. The po­lice opened the bon­net and found the sub­stance. A tod­dler was seated at the back seat of the car.

Rita Sci­cluna told the po­lice that her hus­band, 28-year-old Ni­cholas Obaseki, was wait­ing for her be­hind the gate. Once ap­proached by the po­lice, Mr Obaseki told the po­lice that the con­tents found were sup­posed to be de­liv­ered to him.

De­fence lawyer Franco De­bono, who rep­re­sented Mr Osarenkhoe, asked whether at any point, the Nige­rian man was in con­trol of the car. The In­spec­tor said that the man was never seen driv­ing the car.

Ac­cord­ing to the pros­e­cut­ing of­fi­cer, po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions had found that the two, Sci­cluna and Osarenkhoe, had been ex­chang­ing phone calls and text mes­sages.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions showed that Sci­cluna and the other ac­cused had met in Si­cily and were plan­ning to re­side at her res­i­dence in Luqa. The po­lice also con­ducted a search at the res­i­dence of Mrs Sci­cluna but found noth­ing il­le­gal.

The trio pleaded not guilty. The woman was re­leased on bail whilst the two men were re­manded in cus­tody.

Lawyers Franco De­bono, Arthur Az­zopardi ap­peared for the ac­cused. The case re­sumes on 4 Oc­to­ber.

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