West New Britian Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector John Allan Iara confirmed that four of the suspects are from East Kove-Kaliai LLG in West New Britain and one is from Wasara in East Sepik.
PPC Iara explained that when the passenger vessel was about 4 nautical miles from Bialla wharf, the suspects threw the bags of marijuana onto an outboard motor that was travelling near the ship.
He said two of the suspects jumped into the boat and sped off. But not without the ship’s captain noticing them and alerting police.
“The captain of the ship alerted the police through the Shipping Agent in Bialla. The Kimbe Task Force team pursued the suspects on another outboard motor and searched the surrounding islands and shores. They sighted the outboard motor at Lasibu point and arrested 5 suspects. They searched the beach area and recovered 17 clamps of Drugs (Marijuana) and 3 boxes of fire crackers,” PPC Iara said.
All five have been arrested and charged under the Dangerous Drugs Act and will appear in court. He said the suspects were identified as Peter Sumba (36) from Kanakea Village, Redley James from Sankamap Village, Junior Leris (32) from Maputu Village, Danstand Awe (26) from Kandoka Village and Rodrick Saku (27) from Wosera in East Sepik.
“I commend the Task Force Team members who have been deployed to Bialla for Festive season operation for a job well done and also those that provided assistance in the success of the Operation leading to the arrests.
PPC Iara reiterated that drugs have been a problem over the years, especially being smuggled from Lae into Kimbe and other parts of the New Guinea Islands region.
Police in WNB have launched their festive season operations code named Watchmen. PPC Iara said they started last week.