Papua New Guinea police make massive cocaine haul

01 Août, 2020, 13:51 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape

"The investigation into the location of the drugs continues in PNG, with the RPNGC working closely with the AFP as part of the ongoing global cooperation that has been a feature of this investigation", Police Commissioner David Manning said.

A light plane heading for Australia was allegedly laden with so much cocaine it was too heavy to take off, police say.

"The aircraft flew at about 3000 feet from Mareeba to PNG, in an effort to avoid radar detection", Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

Meanwhile in Australia, members of a Melbourne-based criminal syndicate, with alleged links to Italian organised crime, had been charged for conspiring to import the cocaine from PNG into Australia.

The Australian pilot, the sixth member of the group, allegedly arrived at the Australian Consulate in PNG on July 28 where he was arrested and charged with immigration offences and remains in the country.

The Queensland Joint Organised Crime Taskforce allege the group travelled from Melbourne and Sydney to Atherton, near Cairns, to import and collect the cocaine.

If convicted, all five men could face life in prison.

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The Australian national, alleged to be the pilot, is assisting the RPNGC.

The country's prime minister, James Marape, said at the time he suspected it was used for drug trafficking and asked Australian authorities to help uncover the mystery.

Media in Papua New Guinea reported, citing the police, that it was largest drugs haul by value in PNG history.

The five men charged include two 31-year-olds from Victoria - one from Maribyrnong and another from Hoppers Crossing.

Two Melbourne men, aged 33 and 61, were also charged.

AFP Deputy Commissioner Investigations Ian McCartney said it's the end of a two-year multi-agency drugs operation.

'With current interstate travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the attempt to import illicit drugs into Australia shows how opportunistic and greedy organised crime can be, ' he said.



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