Żebbug resident Jomic Calleja Maatouk has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit €51,000 in bail bonds by a court after being found guilty of conspiring with individuals outside Malta to illegally import explosives from the United States. The court described Calleja as a “lethal weapon” capable of unleashing “chaos and destruction”. The judgement was delivered on Tuesday afternoon after Calleja faced criminal charges. Disturbing messages retrieved by investigators revealed Calleja’s original plan to purchase lethal substances such as polonium 210, ricin, and fentanyl from the dark web.
Foreign security services alerted investigators about an unidentified buyer trying to purchase deadly chemicals on the dark web, which ultimately led them to Calleja. Chat conversations between the buyer and seller indicated that the poisons were intended for a person of specific height and weight measurements. Initially, Calleja expressed interest in acquiring “five doses” but was advised by the seller to start with one to avoid arousing suspicion if multiple deaths occurred simultaneously. Each dose cost $500 and required a week of preparation in a laboratory. Investigators traced an order for the explosive C-4 that was sent to an address in Essex, England.
A team of Maltese investigators, led by Superintendent George Cremona, flew to the United States to view for themselves the suspicious parcel. The dangerous material was replaced with a “dummy” and delivered to its intended destination in Malta through a controlled delivery operation.
Calleja faced multiple charges, including conspiring and importing C-4 without a police license, forgery of a private document, use of that document, breaching previous bail conditions, and relapsing. However, he pleaded not guilty.
During the sentencing, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech took into account the seriousness of the crimes committed and Calleja’s extensive criminal record, indicating a pattern of unruly behaviour since a young age. In considering the impact of such crimes on society, the court recognised the need to protect the public from such a dangerous individual. The five-year prison sentence aimed to rehabilitate Calleja while allowing society to feel safer and protected from his potential harm.
The court also ordered the forfeiture of Calleja’s previous bail bonds totalling €51,000, revoked his bail, and issued an immediate re-arrest. Additionally, the accused was required to bear €2,827.08 in court expert expenses. Inspector Omar Zammit acted as the prosecutor in the case. Benjamin Valenzia acted as defence counsel.