Greek Police chiefs have called for an investigation into an incident in the notoriously lawless Cretan mountain village of Zoniana after a local police chief allegedly slapped a subordinate officer for trying to arrest a local cannabis producer following a botched raid.
Nearly four years after villagers ambushed a police convoy outside Zoniana, seriously injuring an officer, police faced resistance again by locals in another attempt to break up crime gangs in the area. According to local reports, police spotted a cannabis farm on Friday and returned on Saturday to arrest the cultivators. But locals apparently had latched onto the scheme as the cannabis trees had been uprooted. As the police withdrew, they were harassed by villagers in pickup trucks. According to local reports, a 33-year-old man in one of the trucks had been wielding a Kalashnikov assault rifle. When one of the officers tried to arrest the suspect, he is said to have been slapped by his superior, an apparent warning against riling the unruly villagers.
In May 2010, 28 people were convicted in connection with the November 2007 ambush on a police convoy entering Zoniana that saw villagers open fire on officers. Officer Stathis Lazaridis, who was 29 when he was shot in the head during the raid, remains paralyzed from the neck down.