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