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CYPRUS police had a direct input in preventing a massive container of cannabis from arriving on the island.

According to Justice Minister Kypros Chrysostomides, Cyprus had received the first tip-off on a container full of furniture, camouflaging 170 kilos of cannabis, found at the Turkish port of Mersin.

The container is believed to have originated from Mozambique and was headed to the occupied areas.

Two Turkish Cypriot men were arrested in the occupied areas, while police are in search of the drugs’ recipients in the south.

For days, members of the Drug Squad have been in close cooperation with Interpol and Europol in a bid to uncover a well-organised drugs ring. The 170 kilos of cannabis were found by Turkish police at Mersin port in Turkey.

The suspected brains behind the gang, who was arrested and remanded with his father-in-law, is understood to be a Turkish Cypriot police sub lieutenant. They were meant to receive the container and deliver it to their associates in the south.

The drugs were loaded in Mozambique and went through Syria before reaching Turkey.

The Drug Squad are now occupied with two issues: how the drugs were supposed to be fed into the free areas and who are the associates of the two Turkish Cypriot detainees.

According to Drug Squad Commander Charalambos Ioannou, the same gang had tried to import around 100 kilos of cannabis through Limassol port a few years ago. The drugs were located and confiscated, while the Cypriot authorities have since been trying to get to the bottom of the case.

“A few months ago, the service received information that the same ring was planning to send a large quantity of drugs in a container,” Ioannou added.

Interpol was last night expected to offer more information to the Cyprus authorities, which have already started making arrests and questioning suspects.

“The police co-operated with international police bodies, investigations took place and the container was spotted in Turkey, before it arrived in the occupied areas where it was headed,” Chrysostomides told reporters.

Drugs coming from the occupied north are of serious concern to the Drug Squad, he added. “I am in the pleasant position to announce that the discovery of this container had a great deal to do with investigations and information obtained by the Drug Squad,” he explained.

The possible implication of a Turkish Cypriot policeman in the case is also of great concern to the Cyprus police, Chrysostomides added.

“For us, the problem of drug trafficking through the occupied areas is an extremely serious problem we have to deal with and unfortunately, at a police level, it is very hard to pursue, locate and arrest people who transfer drugs from the occupied areas to the south,” the minister explained.

By Jacqueline Theodoulou, Cyprus Mail, October 24, 2008|||Cyprus police claim key role in huge drug seizure in Turkey
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