Current Affairs
What happens to drugs seized by Police and Customs?

Last year the Police Anti-Drugs Squad together with the Customs Department seized 20,000 kilos of various drugs ranging from cocaine to heroin; from cannabis to synthetic drugs. This is being regarded as a record amount. Assistant Police Commissioner Dennis Theuma explained the great precautions taken to ensure the drug hauls are destroyed. He also explained that traffickers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to thwart Police investigations.

Theuma, who heads the Anti-Drugs Squad, explained to TVM that drugs are destroyed after being released by a Magistrate who leads an Inquiry. He explained there is a special incinerator at Marsa where drugs are destroyed in a controlled manner.

The Assistant Commissioner said the incinerator has its limits on temperature ranges because the incineration of certain substances increases the heat temperature, such as cannabis resin which produces oil that flares up the temperature. To counter this, the incinerator’s operator has to put in animal carcasses and liquids to decrease the temperature.

Among other seizures last year there was 15,000 kilos of cannabis, four kilos of heroin, 200 kilos of cocaine as well as about 400 ecstasy tablets. Theuma said that when drugs are transported to be destroyed great security precautions are taken and it is transported under an armed escort.

Theuma said the persons involved in the transporting are from the Anti-Drugs Squad as well as members of RIU and SIU and they are all armed. He said there have been no problems so far and there have been no indications of any attempt being made. However, he said, in this line of work one cannot take risks and it is “better to be safe than sorry. There is high security”.

In recent weeks the Police have carried out a number of raids in places used by drugs traffickers. The Assistant Commissioner said traffickers are becoming more sophisticated to render Police work more difficult.

He said that drugs are purposely thrown into acid so that when Police seize them they have to try and salvage them to have them analysed and this complicates the process. However in such cases, although infrequent, so far the Police have managed to make an arraignment in every case.

Regarding drugs hauls at the Freeport he said consignments are in transit on the way to places like Syria, Libya and Greece. He explained that when it is confirmed the consignment is not destined for Malta and therefore no Court action is necessary, the Police request the Magistrate for permission to destroy the consignment but samples are retained in case of future investigations.

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