The people responsible for trafficking the record amount of cocaine seized on Thursday went to great lengths to conceal their load, which without the intelligence received, would never had been discovered using scanners or other mechanical detectors.
“This is a huge success of the Cyprus authorities,” said Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou on Friday congratulating police and customs for their work. “As the drugs were hidden in especially constructed spaces they could not have been discovered using special scanning equipment”
Nicolaou praised the officers involved saying “We have people in the police who conscientiously carry out their responsibilities, doing dangerous work which puts their lives at risk.”
Authorities found 142 packages with 156 kilos of the drug in secret compartments inside the fuel tanks of two generators stored in a bonded warehouse near Limassol port, according to Police Chief Zacharias Chrysostomou.
“The discovery of the drugs was extremely difficult and the success in its detection was due to the persistent efforts of our members.”
“From investigations so far it appears that the generators were loaded in a Latin American country, passing through European ports before arriving in Cyprus.”
Police believe the load, which is the largest ever of cocaine intercepted in Cyprus after 100 kilos were found in March last year, was shipped in the roundabout way, through various ports in order not to raise suspicions when re-imported. Holland is thought to have been the final destination for the generators, police said.
A third generator, stored in the same area as the two containing the drugs was found to be clean. A fourth one was re-exported recently.
The latest development regarding the case was police arresting the owner of the warehouse on Thursday and issuing an arrest warrant against the director of the company importing the generators, whom police said was abroad. Authorities planned to issue an international warrant for his arrest.
The warehouse owner was released on Friday evening.
Chrysostomou characterised drugs as an international problem saying the Cyprus police was not limited to the narrow confines of its own borders but played an important role in preventing trafficking at a European and global level.
“Through quiet, methodical, professional methods the police would continue to work for the arrest of traffickers and drug dealers while providing support to users with the aim of treatment and social rehabilitation.