The Larnaca criminal court sentenced a 29-year-old to 12 years on Tuesday, after he was found guilty of attempting to smuggle 16.5kg of cannabis into the country through Larnaca airport.
The Greek national, Alexandros Orphanides, pled guilty to the charges which included the illegal import, possession, and intention of distributing a class B drug.
Orphanides flew to Larnaca airport from Athens on 29 December 2018, when he was stopped by airport security who spotted the 29-year-old acting suspiciously.
Customs officers broke the lock of the 29-year-old’s suitcase after he claimed to be unaware of the number sequence, and found 12 packages containing a total of 16.477 kg of cannabis.
He later told police that he was not a drug trafficker, but attempted to smuggle the cannabis which he would hand over to an unknown person, in order to make some money as he was unemployed and desperate.
The 29-year-old’s lawyer Yiannis Polychronis told the court that Orphanides should be treated as a drug mule, not as a dealer.
In its decision the court said it took into consideration a number of ameliorating factors, but highlighted that the 29-year-old’s role in the operation as a whole was not marginal, as mules play an important role in the drug distribution chain.