1,344 peo­ple charged with drug pos­ses­sion since 2014, 328 with traf­fick­ing: Drug Squad sta­tis­tics

● Ec­stasy seizures spike up­wards

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

A to­tal of 1,344 per­sons were charged with drug pos­ses­sion and a fur­ther 328 with drug traf­fick­ing be­tween Jan­uary 2014 and Oc­to­ber 2016. This in­for­ma­tion can be re­vealed by The

Malta In­de­pen­dent af­ter it ob­tained these sta­tis­tics from the Po­lice Drug Squad.

The ma­jor­ity of these were Mal­tese cit­i­zens, with 1,062 Mal­tese be­ing charged with drug pos­ses­sion and 224 with drug­traf­fick­ing.

These sta­tis­tics re­gard those ar­raigned in court and not those con­victed of the charges. In ad­di­tion, the in­for­ma­tion re­quested is the num­ber of peo­ple charged per year since 2014, and so it is pos­si­ble that some peo­ple were charged on more than one oc­ca­sion. The in­for­ma­tion is also gath­ered solely from the Drug Squad, and not district po­lice.

A rel­a­tively high num­ber of Ital­ian and Bri­tish na­tion­als were also ar­raigned on these charges. 80 Bri­tish na­tion­als were charged with pos­ses­sion (58 of which were this year), and 14 with traf­fick­ing since 2014, while 55 Ital­ian na­tion­als were charged with drug pos­ses­sion in this pe­riod and 24 were ar­raigned on traf­fick­ing charges.

The high­est num­ber of peo­ple ar­raigned on charges of drug pos­ses­sion was reg­is­tered this year (581), keep­ing in mind that only sta­tis­tics up to the end of Oc­to­ber 2016 are avail­able, while 2015 saw the high­est num­ber of peo­ple charged with drug traf­fick­ing (118).

Sta­tis­tics were also re­quested, and pro­vided, re­gard­ing the quan­tity of drugs seized. In 2014, 69,500 grams of cannabis grass were seized, in ad­di­tion to 41,774 grams of cannabis resin. A to­tal of 376 cannabis seeds and eight cannabis plants were also found. As far as harder drugs, 5,272 grams of co­caine, 1,768 grams of heroin and 334 ec­stasy pills were seized by the drug squad.

The amount of co­caine seized re­mained high, with 21,235 grams of co­caine seized in 2015, and 18,435 grams seized this year up to the end of Oc­to­ber. As for cannabis grass, 4,030 grams were seized in 2015 and 11,957 grams in 2016. In 2015, 69,924 grams of cannabis resin where seized, ris­ing to 105,374 grams seized in 2016.

The amount of ec­stasy seized spiked up­wards in 2015 and 2016, with 1,404 and 4,318 pills be­ing seized re­spec­tively.

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