Cyprus Mail

Man, 70, arrested over 2019 MDMA haul bound for Australia

A 70-year-old man was arrested in Limassol as the third suspect in connection with the discovery of 645 kilos of MDMA two years ago, police said on Thursday.

The illegal drugs were confiscated on December 21, 2019 by officers of the drug squad who said culprits were trying to export them to Australia.

A 32-year-old man was arrested in relation to the case after a collaboration between the local and Australian authorities, while a 59-year-old man was also arrested.

The case is being tried at the Limassol criminal court.

Police said additional evidence implicated the pensioner, who was arrested on Wednesday.

He is being investigated for illegal import, export and possession of drugs, as well as possession with the intend to deal.

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.

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 2019, the barbecues were gradually shipped to another warehouse, also in Sydney, where the Australian suspect began to prepare the drugs for distribution.

In early December, 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 drugs into the country.

The Canadian suspect had 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.



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