Cyprus Mail

Police arrest two Cypriots in BBQ ecstasy haul

A 30-year-old man was remanded in custody for eight days on Saturday in connection with 645 kilos of ecstasy found in barbecue kits shipped from Limassol and seized by Australian authorities earlier in the week.

Police told the court they have also issued an arrest warrant for a 57-year-old man currently being held at central prisons in connection with a separate drugs-related case.

The court heard that the 30-year-old is the registered owner of the company that arranged the importation of the ecstasy and its export to Australia.

The suspect denied any involvement in the case.

Police told the court they were planning to transfer a 57-year-old man from central prison to Limassol for questioning. The man is thought to be directly connected with the 30-year-old’s company.

He is currently held in connection with a haul of some 100 kilos of cannabis found in Ypsonas, Limassol, back in March.

On Tuesday, Australian authorities announced the arrest of two men — a 30-year-old man from Queensland and a 33-year-old Canadian national — for allegedly smuggling the barbecues.

The arrests followed a six-month investigation spanning three countries. The case involves British nationals living in the UK, Cypriots and Australians.

On searching the container from Cyprus, Australian police found 200 aluminium barbecues, many with false base plates concealing multiple packages of the drug.

The case began in July when Cyprus’ drug squad tipped off their Australian counterparts about a potential large shipment of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, in a container shipping from Limassol and bound for Sydney.

The investigation also involved the United Kingdom National Crime Agency.

Officers swapped the MDMA for an inert substance and delivered the barbecues to a warehouse in Sydney, where it sat for more than three months.

Starting in late October, the barbecues were gradually shipped to another warehouse, also in Sydney, where the Australian suspect began to prepare the drugs for distribution.

The Canadian suspect arrived in Sydney last week to visit the warehouse and was arrested in Brisbane on Monday. He is believed to have acted as a liaison for the criminal group responsible for importing the MDMA.

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