Two Greek nationals, a couple with three grown-up children, were jailed by a Larnaca court for 12 years each on Tuesday after being found guilty of importing and possessing close to 20 kilos of cannabis with intent to supply.
Panagiotis Sideris, 52 and his wife Vasiliki Pouliou, 47 were found guilty after they were arrested on September 25 last year at Larnaca airport.
Sideris arrived to Cyprus from Athens and as he was deemed suspicious, a search in his bag found 10 wrapped and covered cylindrical packages containing cannabis weighing 12.49 kilos.
His hand luggage contained a boarding pass for Pouliou, and her return e-ticket. Though they arrived together, she managed to leave the airport without undergoing any security checks.
Realising her husband had not come through she hid her bag in the airport and went to the arrivals gate where she left several missed calls on his phone. After failing to reach him, she turned to airport security. A drug squad officer approached her and upon asking for her luggage she led him to the hideout.
Nine packages were found in her bag containing 11.15 kilos of cannabis.
Sideris admitted his guilt and said the couple had picked up the items from a woman in Athens. They had strict orders to hand them over to people in Cyprus, who the couple claims they do not know as the recipients had not made contact when they landed in Cyprus. They were to receive €1,500 for every package they handed over.
The court said that mitigation aside – the couple who have three children aged 29, 27 and 25 and were financial difficulties, and are not in great health – in drugs cases in particular, “severe and dissuasive penalties” were required “because drugs are a scourge that affects the physical and moral well-being of people and in many cases leads to misery and death”.
The court could also not disregard the fact that the couple had voluntarily participated in a well-organised plan to import drugs to Cyprus with a predetermined role as facilitators.