Cyprus Mail
Crime

Importer of ‘cocaine-in-generators’ has prosecution suspended (Update 2)

The warehouse in Limassol where the record 156 kilos of cocaine were found

The director of a company through which the largest ever consignment of cocaine was imported into Cyprus and who appeared in Limassol criminal court on Tuesday had his prosecution suspended on the instructions of the attorney-general.

The consignment of cocaine was concealed in electricity generators discovered last August imported by his company, but he has denied any wrongdoing from the start.

The 44-year-old, who imported the generators from Chile on behalf of clients, had been facing charges relating to importation, possession and possession with intent to supply to others of a class A drug, along with corresponding conspiracy charges.

The 142kg shipment, which was concealed in electrical generators, was imported by the company and stored in a warehouse it had commissioned.

It’s understood that the case against the 44-year-old Cypriot has been stayed due to the absence so far of any corroborating evidence pointing to the man having knowledge of the drugs.

The man has been released and his record has been expunged.

The attorney-general may, however, re-file the case should new evidence come to light.

At the last hearing, the man’s lawyer told the court that his client, who is a permanent resident abroad, came to Cyprus and placed himself at the disposal of the police in order to prove his innocence.

A Ukrainian partner implicated by the defendant who is being sought by police has an international arrest warrant pending against him, with Interpol and Europol involved, as many of the names and companies mentioned in his statement are abroad.

The suspect went as far as saying he had suspected the generators contained drugs and had given names and detailed events in relation to the shipment.

Police say the suspect named the Ukrainian lawyer as being a partner in the importation of the generators, saying he had suspicions about the cargo as the Ukrainian 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 was arrested upon his return to the island a few days after the haul was uncovered on August 4, had informed the authorities he was abroad and came back voluntarily.

Authorities discovered the cocaine hidden inside secret compartments in the fuel tanks of two generators stored in a bonded warehouse near Limassol port, with investigations pointing to them having been loaded in two shipments from south America which passed through Holland and Germany before arriving on the island.

Police believe the record haul, the largest ever of cocaine intercepted in Cyprus, was 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 drugs which police say, without intelligence, would never had been discovered using technology, proof being the fact that they passed through Dutch and German ports undetected.



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