A suspect in a huge drug bust case dubbed “foukou grills for down under” has entered the witness protection program in Cyprus, prompting police to make another arrest in a cross-border investigation spanning multiple countries.
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But two years after his arrest and detention, the 32-year-old reportedly gave a statement to police in October, implicating the 70-year-old who was described as a relative of another suspect
Limassol police said a 70-year-old male was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the smuggling of 645 kilos of ecstasy hidden inside hundreds of traditional Cypriot aluminum barbecues, shipped from Limassol to Sydney.
The case got global attention after a six-month investigation led to an Australian raid in December 2019, with Cypriot police also under pressure to secure witnesses and prosecute those responsible on their end.
Local media said the arrest of the elderly man came after another male suspect in the case, a 32-year-old company owner, agreed to testify for the prosecution. He reportedly reached a deal with prosecutors to have all but one charge dropped. He is now expected to plead guilty to a single felony conspiracy charge in the first half of 2019, after prosecutors withdrew all drug-related charges.
The 32-year-old had previously named a 59-year-old male as the person who instructed him to arrange for a large shipment of MDMA by means of exporting 200 grills while stashing ecstasy inside worth some €25 million.
But two years after his arrest and detention, the 32-year-old man reportedly gave a statement to police in October, implicating the 70-year-old who was described as a relative of the 59-year-old suspect.
The elderly man was expected to appear before a Limassol district judge for his remand hearing on Thursday.