Court says turning cocaine into crack is not trafficking
A drug addict has been acquitted of drugs charges after a court ruled that turning cocaine into crack does not result in trafficking.
Denis Cremona, 36, from Floriana, was accused of trafficking in cocaine and relapsing.
Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard how officers from the drugs squad had raided Mr Cremona’s residence in May 2012. There they found the accused and a certain Jason Bugeja, who was carrying a sachet filled with white powder.
Officers also found drug-related items in the house, including a set of electronic scales, bicarbonate of soda, a pipe, plastic bags, a penknife, a teaspoon, a box of razors and two knives – one was burnt and the other was missing the handle.
Court expert Godwin Sammut said there were no traces of drugs on the knives, the penknife and the teaspoon. Traces of cocaine were found on the pipes and the scales.
The accused, who had refused to be assisted by a lawyer during the interrogation, told the police that he used the glass pipes to burn stuff, the scales and the bags for things he bought.
He alleged that Jason Bugeja had gone to his house to smoke crack with him but denied selling the drugs. The accused said he has been a cocaine and heroin addict for the past 10 years.
He denied turning the cocaine into crack and said Bugeja had procured the already altered drug and the two had smoked it together.
On the other hand, Mr Bugeja said he had visited the accused because he did not know how to cook cocaine into crack. He admitted that the drugs belonged to him, and not to the accused.
Inspector Nikolai Sant, prosecuting, said cooking crack amounted to manufacture which, in the eyes of the law amounted to trafficking.
But the court noted that the only substance presented as evidence during the proceedings was the bicarbonate of soda. The white substance found in Mr Bugeja’s possession had never been exhibited and the court could not ascertain that it was cocaine or crack. There was no doubt that Bugeja had procured the drug but it could not be proven that Cremona had turned it into crack, the court said. Since the drugs were procured by Bugeja one could not say that this was a case of trafficking.
The objects found in the house indicated that they were related to drugs but the prosecution did not prove that the accused dealt in cocaine.
The magistrate said that while the accused had turned the cocaine into crack, this did not constitute manufacture or production. The drug was only changed in form so that it could be consumed in a different method.
For these reasons the court ruled that the trafficking charge did not result. Since the first charge was not confirmed the accused could not be found guilty of relapsing.
Mr Cremona was acquitted of all charges.