A 34-year-old man arrested by the anti-terrorist unit yesterday has been identified as Jomic Calleja, who today was charged with attempting to import explosives. He pleaded not guilty.
Calleja, who would often go by the pseudonyms of Jomic Grech or Micheal Luciano, had been charged with a slew of offences in the past, had once been arrested in Taormina, Sicily and was also made it onto the radar of Maltese financial authorities.
In 2013, police searched his Gżira residence and found four 7.62mm x 39mm rounds – the right size for AK-47s – as well as a pill-making machine. He was also wanted for questioning in relation to an 18kg cannabis haul.
However, before he could be brought in for questioning, he had escaped to Sicily, MaltaToday reported.
Three European Arrest Warrants were issued for him but it wasn’t until 2015 that the Maltese police finally arrested him and charged him with trafficking drugs, as well as other charges related to firearms – including firing an AK-47 in an Qormi garage. He pleaded not guilty.
During his trial, his lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace had tried to argue that his client has bipolar disorder and that he be treated for it in prison. The case is still ongoing.
By 2017, Calleja had set up his company, Bitcoin & Autotrader, in Qormi.
He had promised to trade cars and even houses for Bitcoin, leading to the MFSA issuing a statement warning the public about dealing with him.
“The Authority would like to inform the public that Bitcoin & Autotrader is not a Maltese registered company, additionally, Jomic Calleja and the entity are neither operating under the transitory provision in terms of Article 62 of the Act now are authorised to provide any financial services in or from Malta,” the MFSA had warned.
Calleja was arrested in an operation by the anti-terrorist unit last night.
Officers yesterday descended on a Ħaż-Żebbuġ property at the conclusion of a surveillance operation that has been ongoing since August 2018 in relation to materials meant for explosives. A number of electronic devices were confiscated by officers and his vehicles were also searched.
Calleja was charged in court today. He is pleading not guilty.