Key Zoniana suspect faces judge

A 24-year-old Cretan, who is believed to have been involved in a bloody attack on a police convoy near the mountain village of Zoniana earlier this month, is to face an investigating magistrate tomorrow. The suspect is also believed to have played a prominent role in the local drug trade. Police files on the 24-year-old, and on another six Cretans, suggest that most drug transactions in the region take place along a 17-kilometer stretch of road between Iraklion and Rethymnon. Drug dealers choose this stretch of road to make exchanges as «it is a difficult spot to set up a police blockade – very busy and potentially dangerous,» a local officer told Kathimerini. The exchanges involve cars being switched and bags of drugs being thrown out onto the road, he said. Six of the seven suspects were arrested during a thwarted exchange of drugs that took place on the aforementioned stretch of road on November 2, a few days before the attack on police by gun-toting locals at Zoniana. The 24-year-old suspect, who turned himself in to police on Wednesday after eluding arrest on November 2, is believed to have been one of the drivers. According to sources, he denies any involvement in the thwarted operation. Police yesterday continued their search of homes and stores in and around Zoniana. A search of the cafe of a 52-year-old resident turned up 12 kilos of dynamite, large quantities of cannabis and more than 20 knives. The 52-year-old and his two sons, 22 and 24, were arrested. Meanwhile the 28-year-old officer who was shot in the head during the aborted police raid on Zoniana remains in a critical condition, doctors said. Doctors said the condition of Efstathios Lazaridis is extremely serious but stable.