The 44-year-old director of the company which imported electrical generators crammed full of 142 kilos of cocaine, and commissioned the warehouse in which they were stored, pleaded not guilty in Limassol court on Wednesday, to six charges connected with last August’s find.
The next hearings were set for December 6 and 8 and the defendant, who made no objection, was ordered to remain in custody until then.
His lawyer told the court that his client hoped the process was completed as soon as possible in order that his innocence be proven, recalling that the 44-year-old, who is a permanent resident abroad came to Cyprus, putting himself at the disposal of the police.
The court set the interim date of November 17 for submission of the accepted facts, in order to speed up the process and reduce the number of witnesses called to testify.
The 44-year-old, who imported the generators from Chile on behalf of clients, faces charges relating to importation, possession, and possession with intent to supply to others, a class A drug along with corresponding conspiracy charges.
An international arrest warrant is pending against a Russian partner implicated by the defendant who is being sought by police, with Interpol and Europol involvement. Police said at an earlier hearing that the two organisations would assist with investigations, as many of the names and companies mentioned in his statement, are abroad.
The suspect had given names and detailed events related to the import of the generators, going as far as saying he had suspected they may have contained drugs.
According to police, the suspect named the Russian lawyer as being a partner in the importation of the generators saying he had suspicions about the cargo as the Russian had mentioned being threatened by the senders, and because the specific generators stored in the warehouse would not work in this part of the world without modifications.
The man, who had informed the authorities he was abroad when the haul was uncovered on August 4, was arrested on arrival back on the island a few days later and taken directly to the Limassol offices of the drug squad for questioning.
Authorities found the drugs hidden in secret compartments inside the fuel tanks of two generators stored in the bonded warehouse near Limassol port with investigations pointing to them having been loaded in two shipments from Chile which passed through Dutch and German ports before arriving in Cyprus.
Police believe the loads, the largest ever of cocaine intercepted in Cyprus, were shipped in a roundabout way in order not to raise suspicions when re-imported into Holland, thought to have been the planned final destination.
The traffickers went to great lengths to conceal the loads which, without the intelligence received, would never had been discovered using scanners or other mechanical detectors, proof being the fact that they passed through two European ports undetected.