Three Limassol men were given prison sentences of between four-and-a-half and eight years on Wednesday after they were found guilty of trafficking 2.3 kilos of cannabis.
The criminal court in Larnaca jailed a 29-year-old for eight years for possession and supply of cannabis and six months for reckless driving.
His 24-year-old accomplice was given five years and six months for assaulting a police officer. The sentences will run concurrently.
The third defendant, 19, got four-and-a-half years. A 20-year-old woman who had also been charged in the case was acquitted on April 19 due to lack of evidence.
Delivering the sentences, the court expressed concern over the surge in drugs-related offences.
“Drugs related offences are a scourge on society, they brutally offend human nature thereby eroding the social fabric by altering key institutions and values, such as family,” the court said.
“It is worrying that no matter how strict the penalties imposed by the courts are, the upsurge does not seem to abate. What is more worrying is the fact that many of the offenders are of a young age.”
The suspects were arrested on February 21 while carrying out a drugs deal near Skarinou.
During the police operation, one of the suspects tried to escape, crashing his car into a police vehicle while another assaulted a police officer.
The court said the three defendants were faced with severe charges “considering they were all found guilty on a single charge of possession of a class B drug with intent to supply, an offence that now carries the maximum sentence, i.e. life imprisonment.”
“From whatever angle one looks at the evidence, the fact remains the three defendants constituted a criminal group and this is an aggravating element,” the court said.
It highlighted the coordination and planning in executing the deal “a fact that shows their determination to traffic the drugs. This preparation and organisation can only be considered aggravating.”
The court said the 29-year-old was the organiser, overseer and leader of the operation; he was a previous conviction, and was involved in two other cases.
The role of the other two defendants was essentially identical, the court said, with the 24-year-old being burdened with a previous conviction and the use of force in the present case. The defendant also suffers from serious mental problems, the court said.
The 19-year-old had no priors during the commission of the offence.