NEWS

Zoniana residents face judge

Three residents of the Cretan mountain village of Zoniana were yesterday indicted to appear before a magistrate on criminal, drug-related charges as police continued their search of the lawless enclave where armed locals opened fire on an anti-drugs police convoy earlier this week. Another seven locals face lesser misdemeanor charges relating to the possession of explosives and drugs. Several others, believed to be involved in local drug production and other crimes, are being sought. Officers yesterday extended their search from villagers’ homes to nearby caves which they inspected with the help of bomb disposal experts, fearing booby-traps. There were several altercations between officers and villagers opposing the ongoing police presence in their area. The local school was closed down as residents said they preferred to keep their children at home, away from heavily armed officers. Responding to questions in Parliament about the progress of the government’s campaign to impose order in the village, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said: «We will no longer tolerate behavior outside the law – the law applies to everyone and will be enforced for everyone.» Meanwhile, the reliability of state checks on money laundering were questioned by Parliament’s deputy speaker, Giorgos Sourlas, following the discovery of a bank account in the name of a 23-year-old Zoniana farmer which reportedly holds 6 million euros. The 23-year-old is one of the suspects being sought by police in the greater area of Mylopotamos. Of Zoniana’s 1,600 permanent residents, some 200 are believed to have been missing since Monday when 20 Kalashnikov-toting locals opened fire on a convoy of police jeeps, injuring three officers. A 28-year-old policeman shot in the neck during the attack was yesterday in a critical but stable condition.