Five remanded in custody on cocaine trafficking charges

Five people, including two prominent business men, were on Monday remanded in custody pending trial on charges of cocaine trafficking, following their testimony to investigating authorities. The five are accused of setting up an international cocaine trafficking outfit based in the city of Trikala, which sold drugs in Greece and abroad.

Among the five is a well-known Thessaly business man, a former local football club official and a wealthy Albanian man who, according to sources, owns one of the largest companies selling natural gas and diesel in the neighbouring country.

In his testimony, the Greek businessman claimed that he came under strong pressure from his Albanian fellow-suspects to provide them with storage space and expressed remorse for agreeing to store the 20 kilos of cocaine at his home and factory.

The 54-year-old Albanian suspect, who is alleged to be the ring leader, denied all involvement and claimed he was a successful businessman in his own country that had no need to trade in drugs. Explaining his connection to the Greek suspect, he said that the Thessaly businessman had agreed to mediate for a fee and bring him into contact with a greek gas company, which was the reason for his visit to Greece with his two associates.