The local drug squad may have located a warehouse where 645 kilos of ecstasy were stored before they were shipped to Australia.
The drugs were found in barbecue kits shipped from Limassol and seized by Australian authorities earlier this month.
Speaking to state radio, spokesman of the drug squad (YKAN) Stelios Sergides said it is possible that officers have found the area where the barbecue kits were both manufactured and stored.
Asked if the warehouse was linked to any of the two people arrested in connection to the case, Sergidis said “there is evidence that may link the warehouse to one of the two.”
He added the remand of the arrested 30-year-old man will expire on Sunday and police will request a renewal. The second suspect, 54, is already in prison for another drugs related case.
The 30-year-old is the registered owner of the company that arranged the importation of the ecstasy and its export to Australia but denies any involvement.
There are two possibilities, Sergides said. “The drugs were imported to Cyprus, or made here,” he noted, adding that until now there has never been this kind of manufacturing in Cyprus.
The case came to light when two men – a 30-year-old man from Queensland and a 33-year-old Canadian national – were arrested in Australia for allegedly smuggling the barbecues.
The Canadian suspect arrived in Sydney to visit the warehouse and was arrested in Brisbane. He is believed to have acted as a liaison for the criminal group responsible for importing the MDMA.
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 the 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 allegedly began to prepare the drugs for distribution.