COVID-19 Pandemic Controller and Police Commissioner, David Manning, said Cutmore and four others appeared before the Waigani District Court yesterday and their cases were adjourned to later this month.
Manning said Cutmore and 52-year-old Italian Carlo D’ Attanasio, and three other Papua New Guineans, appeared briefly before the Waigani District Court and have been remanded in custody to appear again on 25th August 2020 for plea.
He stated that additional charges will be laid under the Criminal Code Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing act as police continue investigations.
“Cutmore was charged with conveying on board an aircraft smuggled goods, namely 611 kilograms of cocaine, and failure to comply with International Travel Measures under the National Pandemic Act 2020. Carlo D’Attania has been charged with one count of smuggling of prohibited imports namely 611 kilograms of cocaine and one count of possession of 50 grams of cocaine under the Customs Act,” Manning revealed.
D’Attania was alleged to have brought the 611 kg of cocaine on a yacht and off-loaded the illicit drug at Kupiano. The drug was then taken by road to Papa Lealea in Central Province, where it was supposed to be flown out.
Manning said the other Papua New Guineans, Morgan Mogu, 35 years from Abau, Shane Dikana, 30 years old both from Central Province and Dominic Terupo, 35 years from Mortlock Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, were charged for aiding the foreigners and also conveying smuggled goods under the Customs Act.
“I again reiterate the statement by the Prime Minister that we will leave no stones unturned in our investigations. We are working closely with our international law enforcement networks and let me reassure the people of Papua New Guinea that those involved criminally in the country and abroad will be dealt with.”
Manning also urged people against spreading unnecessary and false information, especially on social media. He said police will not hesitate to arrest such people as this is a sensitive matter and can affect police investigations.