By Angelos Anastasiou
OVER 100 kilos of cocaine were found and seized by police in a car near Mouttayiaka, Limassol, police announced on Friday, in the single largest drug bust ever in Cyprus.
Acting on a tip, on Friday afternoon police drug squad (YKAN) members cut off a car, as well as a second vehicle following it, to carry out a search, which revealed two suitcases filled with cocaine, packed in round tubes.
Two Greek Cypriots from Larnaca, 34 and 33, have been arrested in connection with the case.
“At around 4 pm [on Friday] in Limassol, following surveillance a search was conducted on a car driven by a 33-year-old, and followed by a second car driven by a 34-year-old, both from Larnaca,” police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou said in a news conference announcing the outcome of the operation.
“During the search, two suitcases were found in the back of the car, which were found to contain approximately 100 kilos of cocaine.”
“Police investigations continue with a view to the identification and arrest of any additional individuals involved in the case.”
State TV cited police sources suggesting that the two suspects are members of a drug-trafficking ring, which had been placed under police surveillance for the past few weeks.
It is presumed that the quantity seized was not intended for distribution solely in Cyprus, and the two suspects are being questioned with regard to the origin of the cocaine, as well as a possible international connection.
The value of the cocaine in the local black market has been estimated at between €4 and €5 million.
Chrysostomou confirmed this was the largest quantity of cocaine ever seized by police in Cyprus.
“This is a case of extreme importance, because the 100 kilos of cocaine – obviously of great monetary value – were about to be channelled to the Cypriot market of users,” said the police chief.
“I would like to publicly express my pleasure for YKAN’s achievement, and congratulate each and every member that contributed to this success, from management, to officers and all members.”
He noted that the police does not confine its efforts to suppressing crime, but it also places a great premium on protecting youth.
“If young people get caught in the web of narcotics, the repercussions are disastrous, for themselves, their families, and society in general,” he added.
“This is why I think it is extremely important that we have prevented the addiction of youngsters, protecting them from the difficult path of substance abuse.”
According to the police chief, YKAN seizures indicate that cocaine ranks second – behind only cannabis – in drug-users’ preferences.
“Besides seizing quantities of drugs intended for the streets and arresting dealers, our goal is the protection of young people, who need our support for a brighter future, especially under today’s socioeconomic circumstances,” he said.
Chrysostomou called on the public to cooperate with the police on such sensitive matters.
“I call on everyone to trust us, to everyone’s benefit,” the chief said.
“The police is the public, and the public is the police.”