Crackdown on drug smuggling

Papua New Guinea, being the largest Pacific Island nation and a high-risk transit and consolidation point for narcotics in the Indo-Pacific, realized the need to revise their drug laws.

The successful collaboration between the Papua New Guinea Royal Constabulary, Papua New Guinea Customs, and the Australian Federal Police in combating transnational crime was recognized on March 15, 2023.

The U.S. Government law enforcement agency, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), presented them with the 2021 HSI Annual Award for Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments for Narcotics and Contraband Smuggling.

As a result of "Operation Saki Bomb" that began in June 2021 in Los Angeles and ended in December 2021, PNG Parliament voted unanimously on December 2, 2021, to pass the Controlled Substance Bill 2021 that outlawed Methamphetamine, resulting in multiple arrests.

HSI Regional Attaché Earnest Verina and Acting Head of Australian Mission Joanne Loundes made remarks during the awards ceremony.

HSI Regional Attaché Earnest Verina stated that “Joint investigations, like the ones being recognized today are vital to stopping illicit smuggling. Each arrest, each seizure, is saving lives and decreasing the additional crime that arises from transnational organized crime. I commend the dedicated agents, detectives, investigators, analysts, and prosecutors whose international efforts and collaboration led to this outstanding accomplishment."

The joint effort of the agencies resulted in the successful international controlled delivery from the United States to PNG.

The State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) is working closely with Papua New Guinea partners to enhance the capability of law enforcement and judicial systems.

The joint goal is to reduce drug trafficking and strengthen laws to allow PNG police to prosecute drug dealers who threaten the prosperity of the nation.

With the largest global presence of any U.S. law enforcement organization, operating in over 170 countries and 33 U.S. cities, DSS leads worldwide security and law enforcement efforts to advance U.S. foreign policy and safeguard national security interests, responsible for investigating transnational crimes.

The recognition of the joint efforts of the RPNGC, PNGC, and AFP by HSI emphasizes the importance of international collaboration in combating transnational crime.

The success of "Operation Saki Bomb" in the United States and PNG highlights the need for international cooperation in tackling transnational organized crime. With the drug trade being a global issue, this collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies from different countries serves as a model for future joint initiatives to combat transnational crime.

It is essential to strengthen laws and enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies to reduce drug trafficking, protect citizens, and promote the prosperity of nations.

The recognition of the RPNGC, PNGC, and AFP for their outstanding investigative accomplishments is a testament to the importance of international collaboration in combating transnational crime.

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