The Limassol criminal court on Friday imposed a prison sentence of 18 years on two persons in connection with a case of importing and possessing cannabis, weighing 72 kg, for the purposes of distribution.

The two defendants were found guilty in connection with a 2020 case, which involved the detection of drugs in a customs storage warehouse in Zakaki and for which four other persons had been arrested at the time, one of whom was sentenced to three years in prison.

In its decision, the criminal court pointed to the rise of this type of crime which it was said “endangers the foundations of society” and the large quantities of narcotics trafficked in a small country such as Cyprus, which makes imposition of deterrent penalties imperative.

“The number of victims is increasing uncontrollably, and the courts must protect society and especially young people who are most vulnerable from this danger,” the court statement said, adding “it would be unthinkable not to have the active participation of the judicial system in the daily struggle to fight the scourge of drugs.”

In assigning penalties the court took into account, among other things, the seriousness of the offences, the alarming frequency with which they are committed, and the fact that the defendants intended to supply numerous other persons.

The drugs were found through a sting operation after police received a tip-off that four containers arriving to Limassol port from Greece contained drugs. Police swapped the drugs with similar looking substances and the warehouse in Zakaki was monitored.

The men aged 31 and 36 went to pick up the items and were immediately arrested after their vehicle was cut off on the highway between Limassol and Nicosia. Three other people were arrested for the crime including a 27-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman after testimony was obtained against them, while a 28-year-old man who was wanted by police for two weeks, was also remanded.