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Police suspect links to extensive gang in large cocaine haul

16.5 kilos of cocaine were seized on Tuesday

Around 16 kilos of cocaine seized by authorities in Larnaca have a street value of €1.3 million, the drug squad chief said on Wednesday, as police continued their investigation into the case after arresting a 25-year-old man.

The man was arrested on Tuesday after he collected some 16.5 kilos of cocaine packaged in two boxes sent via courier from the Netherlands.

According to Glykerios Leontiou, the cocaine has a street value of around €1.3m.

“Cocaine and cannabis are the most widespread drugs,” on the island while methamphetamines were on the rise, he said.

In the past two years, 2017 and 2018, authorities seized 13 kilos of cocaine and 465 kilos of cannabis. In just three months this year, they have seized 30 kilos of cocaine and 23 kilos of cannabis.

On Wednesday, police told the court the cocaine had been wrapped in 15 smaller packages inside the two cardboard boxes.

The drug squad had been notified of the delivery by Dutch authorities and had arranged to follow the packages to the address provided by the recipient.

At around 3pm on Tuesday, the packages were delivered to an apartment building in Pervolia where the suspect was waiting in his car.

He collected the packages but signed with a fake name, police said.

Drug squad officers then tried to intercept his car but he accelerated in a bid to escape. In the process he hit two private and a police vehicle, the court heard.

He was eventually caught in Kiti where he was arrested.

According to police, the suspect claimed he collected the drugs on the instruction of other individuals.

Police told the court the case concerns a crime gang that distributes drugs across the island.

They said they were trying to determine the sender and the final recipients of the cocaine.

A mobile phone found in the suspect’s possession was being examined, police said.

The drug squad also plans to investigate other carriers to determine whether they had been used to import drugs into the country in the past.

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