Cyprus Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) on Thursday expressed concerns that drug dealers may be using Turkey to transport illegal substances to the occupied areas and then to the Cyprus Republic. This comes after the start of the war in Ukraine and the need to find other channels.
Deputy Commander of the Unit, Stelios Sergides, speaking during a press conference on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking said that Ukraine can no longer be used as a channel for illegal substances to reach Europe and therefore there is a possibility that drugs arrive in the occupied areas via Turkey.
He said that so far this theory cannot be proven yet, however, there are assessments by experts.
He said that methamphetamine is now being produced much cheaper in Afghanistan and is leading to fears that cheap Crystal Ice will now be abundant in the European market.
Replying to a question, Sergides said that drugs are now being transported through Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Turkey because of the war in Ukraine.
He said that because of the pandemic we now see a rise in production, trafficking and availability of drugs in Europe, affecting Cyprus as well.
There is also an increase in cocaine production and an increase in the use of online markets to buy drugs called digital drug markets.
Sergides told the press that in the first five months of 2022 there were a total of 424 drug cases with the involvement of a total of 460 persons. There was an increase of 16,5% involving 289 Greek Cypriots and 174 foreigners.
He said that in 2022 the Unit seized 58 cannabis plants, more than 174 kgs of cannabis, more than 15 kgs of cocaine and 1 kg of methamphetamine, 55 ecstasy pills and 14 LSD paper sheets.
In 2021 there were 861 drug cases with the involvement of 945 persons. There were 622 cases involving the sale and use of cannabis, 46 cocaine cases, 122 methamphetamine cases, 25 cannabis plant cases and 25 doping substances cases.
In 2021 the Unit seized 190 cannabis plants, more than 240 kgs of cannabis, more than 5 kgs of cocaine and 3 kgs of methamphetamine, 62 ecstasy pills and 13 LSD paper sheets.
Justice and Public Order Minister, Stephie Drakos, said that the Police’s task is dangerous and difficult and both the government and society must do their utmost to deal with this crime.
Police Deputy Commander, Demetris Demetriou, said that the fight against drugs is difficult and risky, while cooperation and collaboration are needed.