Aus­tralian cus­toms nab TC with $3.5m meth in suit­case

Cyprus Today - - FRONT PAGE - By KEREM HASAN

A Turk­ish Cypriot is stopped at Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional Air­port, where he was al­legedly caught by a cus­toms of­fi­cer try­ing to smug­gle metham­phetamine with a mar­ket value of $3.5 mil­lion into Aus­tralia, hid­den in a suit­case (left).

A TURK­ISH Cypriot was caught al­legedly try­ing to smug­gle metham­phetamine with a mar­ket value of 3.5 mil­lion into Aus­tralia through Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The 1976-born man, who is also a “Re­pub­lic of Cyprus” cit­i­zen, flew from Qatar to Syd­ney last Sun­day, when the Aus­tralian Bor­der Force (ABF) is said to have spot­ted “in­con­sis­ten­cies” in his lug­gage X-rays, and de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate.

Video footage showed how se­cu­rity dis­cov­ered four ki­los of the drug — known as “ice” — hid­den in­side the lin­ing of the suit­case. Lo­cal re­ports said the man had pleaded not guilty to drugs of­fences and was re­manded in cus­tody un­til his next court hear­ing on De­cem­ber 5. He could face life im­pris­on­ment if con­victed.

A Greek Cypriot po­lice spokesman told Cyprus To­day: “We are in cur­rent talks with the Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties and are await­ing the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion . . . We also want to de­ter­mine how the drugs were ob­tained — whether they were ob­tained from the [North]”.

Hakkı Önen, the Turk­ish Cypriot co-head of the Bi­com­mu­nal Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee on Crime and Crim­i­nal Mat­ters, learn­ing of the in­ci­dent from Cyprus To­day, said: “We are co­op­er­at­ing with Greek Cypriot au­thor­i­ties via the com­mit­tee. Even though the al­leged crime has taken place out­side Cyprus, he is a mem­ber of the Turk­ish Cypriot com­mu­nity, so in­for­ma­tion is be­ing shared.”

A TRNC po­lice spokesman also said they had launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Act­ing ABF re­gional com­man­der Tony McSweeney con­grat­u­lated ABF of­fi­cers for their ef­forts to stop drug smug­gling, say­ing: “We know the sig­nif­i­cant dam­age ‘ice’ is hav­ing on com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try, and our of­fi­cers at the bor­der are com­mit­ted to stop­ping drug like this reach­ing our kids and de­stroy­ing fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.”

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