Shot officer’s health picks up

An officer who was shot during a police ambush of a village in Crete last month has been taken out of intensive care due to an improvement in his condition. The policeman, 29-year-old Stathis Lazaridis, took a shot to the head during a botched raid on suspected drug dealers in the mountain village of Zoniana. The officer’s father, Yiannis Lazaridis, told Kathimerini that he blames senior officers for poorly planning the police raid but denied press reports he will take legal action over his son’s injuries. «The police force has made it clear that they will provide us with whatever we need. I am optimistic they will not forget us,» said the father. «When Stathis’s colleagues come to support us, they all say the same thing: that no policeman should have been permitted to have taken part in an operation such as that held on November 5.» Meanwhile, investigations in the area are continuing after the police recently made several arrests for possession of weapons and drugs. However, authorities have yet to track down large cash amounts they believe the suspected drug traffickers have hoarded. According to a senior official at the Special Investigation Service (SIS), a government department that targets financial crime, massive amounts of money earned by the suspects are buried in Cretan mountains. «The money is alive and buried in the soil,» the SIS source said. The SIS sources admitted the drug suspects may be using more advanced methods to launder cash earned from the sale of guns and drugs. Police have also been looking into possible links between organized-crime suspects in Crete and international drug-trafficking rings. Yesterday, police raided two more homes in Hania as part of a broader investigation into illegal activity on the island and arrested two people for gun possession.