Cyprus Mail

New eight-day remand for suspect in cannabis haul

Limassol court

A 38-year-old man was remanded for a further eight days on Thursday for his alleged involvement in a huge drug bust in which 132kg of cannabis was seized by police.

The case first broke earlier this month following a tip-off to the police, that a shipping container of animal feed at Limassol port contained drugs.

The accused man continues to deny any responsibility for the drugs.

“It appeared there were 24 wooden bases in it, containing 915 packages of animal feed, while the subsequent investigation revealed that in 135 sacks of animal feed, there were a total of 132 airtightly closed packages of cannabis, weighing a total of 132 kilogrammes,” said Limassol’s drug squad (Ykan) chief Michalis Katsounotos at the time.

According to the officer, the feed was completely removed in some packages which were then filled with drugs, while others contained both animal feed and cannabis.

The bust is considered a “major blow” against drug traffickers, who would have channelled the 132 kilos of cannabis into the Cypriot market, the officer said.

The police already have a file on the 38-year-old suspect for his alleged links to a similar case in the past, with the recipient of the container denying any involvement.

The recipient, who reported their suspicions to the police, claims to have worked with the 38-year-old in the past over the shipment of two previous loads of animal feed from Spain but cut off ties afterwards. The recipient said that suspicions were raised after the 38-year-old asked for the key to the container, leading them to believe that perhaps drugs were being stored.

Despite having severed links with the 38-year-old, the recipient received an email that a shipment was due – in their name – and as such a red flag was raised, leading to the authorities being informed.

On March 8, the suspect allegedly asked the recipient if the shipment had been cleared through customs.

The suspect, who has been convicted and previously jailed for a similar case, has made several allegations which are being investigated.

Katsounotos said more arrests might take place at a later a stage.

“All the necessary examinations will be carried out, all the tools at our disposal will be used, either through Europol or Interpol, to establish the exact circumstances in relation to the packaging, shipment and importation of drugs into the territory of the Republic,” he said.

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