By Constantinos Psillides
A MAN was sentenced to ten years in jail on Thursday after almost 12 kilos of cannabis were found in his possession.
The Larnaca Criminal court judge, who handed down the sentence, justified his decision by saying that punishment in drug smuggling cases should act as a deterrent.
The convicted man, Panayiotis Papadopoulos – who is originally a national of Kazakhstan but changed his name when he came to live in Cyprus – was arrested on June 24 after arriving at Larnaca airport from Athens, having previously visited Amsterdam.
The Drug Law Enforcement Unit agents, who had been previously tipped off about a large quantity of cannabis that was about to be smuggled, apprehended Papadopoulos in the baggage claim area, holding a pink bag.
When asked to provide officers with the key to the pink bag, Papadopoulos responded that the bag wasn’t his and that he was paid €900 to smuggle it to Cyprus by a Mr Robert.
Upon breaking the lock, the drug enforcement agents discovered the cannabis sealed in twelve plastic bags. During interrogation Papadopoulos claimed that he needed the money so his sick mother could have an operation.
Papadopoulos told the authorities he was to deliver the drugs to a man indicated by Mr Robert. No further clues were given as to the true identity of the man Papadopoulos claimed had orchestrated the drug smuggling operation.
Papadopoulos was charged with illegal possession and smuggling of controlled substances, with intent to distribute.