Police seize 750kg of cocaine

Investigations into the Papa-Lealea plane crash took a much serious turn yesterday evening, when police seized 750 kilograms of cocaine, that were meant to be flown out of the country, and into Australia.

Commissioner of Police David Manning told media last night that the drugs were seized out at Papa-Lealea, but did not specify where and from whom.

“We successfully brought into our custody an estimated weight of 750 kilograms of cocaine with an Australian street value of eighty million dollars. That’s equivalent to K200 million. This is the largest drug bust or seizure in the history of Papua New Guinea,” Manning said.

“What transpired (today) has been an accumulation of two years information sharing and collaboration domestically and internationally.

Manning said the RPNGC and the Australian Federal Police had agreed to have a controlled delivery of what they knew at that time, was a substantial amount of cocaine.

“The criminal gang involved – what we knew – they planned to have it removed from PNG via a ‘black flight’. What we now know, the flight landed successfully but could not take off due to mechanical faults.”

Yesterday’s outcome was a breakthrough for the Royal PNG Constabulary and its partners including the Australian Federal Police, Customs and the NIO.

AFP Detective Superintendent Julian Bianco commended the collaboration the AFP had with the RPNGC.

“The aircraft that came to PNG is from Australia. It came here to collect drugs from PNG, to take back to Australia. Thank you to the RPNGC for doing this excellent work to stop it from reaching (Australian) shores,” Bianco said.

Manning also said other items that were transported into the country on that ‘black flight’ were also seized, including a significant amount of Australian dollars.

He said Papua New Guineans were involved in this, but they need to establish more facts on these persons of interest.

“(Today) we only disrupted the movement of drugs. We have other leads to follow. We are working on where the drugs came from and how they entered PNG. We do have an idea how they came into PNG. With the size of this seizure, we are aware PNG is a transit point for such,” Manning said.