Cyprus Mail
Crime

Court hands down stiff sentences for cocaine trafficking (updated)

Larnaca Courthouse

The Larnaca Criminal Court on Friday sentenced two foreign nationals to 16 and 13 years in prison in separate cases of trafficking around 15 kilos of cocaine in total.

In the first case, a 40-year-old Cameroonian man was jailed for 16 years after he was found guilty of trafficking almost 11 kilos of cocaine.

Fabrice Vance Tameljong was arrested by the drug squad in April this year following a tip that he would be carrying drugs to Nicosia in a rental car.

Police initially followed the man to a house in Larnaca which he entered and exited five minutes later.

His vehicle was later intercepted on the Larnaca to Nicosia highway with officers finding several packages containing around 400 grammes of cocaine.

During the search, police seized seven mobile phones, a copy of a Cypriot driver’s licence bearing a different name, and the rental agreement of the car he had been driving. Inside his pocket, officers found €3,000 in cash.

On the same day, police searched a house in Larnaca occupied by three foreign nationals. Nothing illegal was found in their rooms but in a locked room rented by the defendant, officers found a suitcase containing cocaine and a computer case also containing he drug.

A quantity of cocaine was also found in a chest of drawers.

In total, police seized 10.8 kilos of cocaine. The defendant said he rented the room exclusively for storing the drugs,

In a statement he gave to police he said he got the drugs from an unknown man at a hotel in Larnaca on the instructions of an individual located in Holland.

Tameljong told officers that he was going to be paid to hand the drugs over to other individuals.

He also admitted that he had used another man’s licence to rent the car.

Investigators told the court that the 40-year-old had arrived in Cyprus in 2006 and applied for asylum. His application was rejected in 2009 but he remained on the island.

In 2011 he was engaged with a compatriot and together they had a baby. The woman however, left Cyprus and moved to Belgium a while later.

The court heard that he also had a 12-year-old child in Cameroon.

Also in Larnaca, a 24-year-old Malaysian man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for importing some four kilos of cocaine and possession with intent to supply.

Muhammad Zahid Bin Samsudin was arrested upon arrival at Larnaca airport from Dubai on April 3 this year.

Inside two plastic bags he was holding, drug squad officers found eight boxes with chocolates containing 242 pellets with 4.35 kilos of cocaine.

Officers also found and seized $1,000.

The defendant told police he had been offered the job by a restaurateur in Malaysia. He was told to travel to Dubai, all expenses paid. There, he was told to go to a hotel where another person would give him instructions.

The 24-year-old also told officers that he spoke to the leader of the ring who told him their job was to transport drugs to other countries.

The defendant was given the drugs, as well as €1,800, just before departing from Dubai airport.

In considering the sentence, the court said it took into account the man’s role, which was limited to that of the transporter and not the dealer.

Presiding Judge Stalo Hadjiyianni said the defendant knew well that he was carrying drugs to Cyprus and he accepted without however, wanting to know the kind and quantity. He showed indifference and opted to participate in the importation of drugs to Cyprus, willfully exposing himself to the consequences of getting caught at the airport, the judge said.

“His ignorance regarding the kind and quantity of drugs he carried does not constitute an important factor that could count in his favour,” Hadjiyianni said.

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