Police are hoping that shooting suspect Elias Mouzos, who was arrested Tuesday and confessed to firing his gun at officers, could help investigators solve older cases involving the criminal underworld.
Mouzos, a 38-year-old crime boss, was arrested in a Limassol village after being on the run for three days. He was wanted by police in connection with a shooting against two police officers, who approached his vehicle in the city’s Ypsonas area on Saturday.
The suspect was on Wednesday remanded in custody for eight days by the Limassol District Court and is facing charges in connection with the shooting. He is also facing kidnapping charges in connection with another case in January as well as firing his gun in a residential area in February.
Mouzos is a known drug lord and reportedly had a business conflict with a 28-year-oild man. The suspect was blaming the younger man for his business going down, reportedly cutting into his Paphos illicit drug network worth €200,000. The suspect had fired shots outside the man’s residence and was identified by police, although he evaded capture for months.
Paphos mayor blames police for going easy on crime
Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos has accused the police of not doing enough to arrest Mouzos prior to the recent police shooting, while also accusing some cops of rubbing shoulders with criminals in his town.
Authorities say Mouzos is cooperating with police and revealed to investigators a secret location where he kept a firearm and explosives
Police issued a statement in response to Phedonos' comments, dismissing the allegations and insisting officers act professionally and always within the law.
The government also announced efforts to set up a national crime fighting agency against organised crime. The mayor said he was not impressed until he could actually see results.
Authorities say Mouzos is cooperating with police and revealed to investigators a secret location where he kept a firearm and explosives. He also showed cops his hideout in Kapilio, which he used as a safe house after he was forced to abandon his home for security reasons.
The arrest was made Tuesday morning when police spotted the suspect in a vehicle, along with his girlfriend, who is reportedly also his ex wife, and then pursued the car in a speed chase. Due to road construction work, the suspect did not have full access on the road and ended up colliding with two other vehicles belonging to civilians.
Earlier reports that shots were fired during the arrest were later retracted, as police say Mouzos was unarmed during the arrest. Officials were puzzled by the fact that the criminal did not seem to take the usual precaution when moving about. Police had received several tips and an officer near Lania spotted him in the car.
One of the two officers shot on Saturday has been transported to Israel and is said to be doing okay, although his condition remains critical. He had approached the vehicle on Saturday from the front side, when Mouzos fired shots from inside, shuttering the windshield and wounding two officers.
“I didn’t mean to kill nobody,” Mouzos told police after his arrest, adding that he panicked when he saw cops approaching his car.
Critics of police took issue with a lack of traning among officers, citing the fact that the cop who got shot had approached the vehicle from the front, not from the back or side as the training manual dictates.
It was not clear why the officer had approached the car from the front.