4 arrested over drug haul

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Search for four more locals continues, says Manning

FOUR men are in police custody over their alleged involvement in the recent K160 million drug bust in Port Moresby, Police Commissioner David Manning says.
The four, who told police that they were involved in the loading of more than 600kg of cocaine onto the small aircraft flown in by Australian pilot David John Cutmore without any clearance, were part of the eight locals police had been looking for.
They are being kept at an undisclosed location in the National Capital District and yet to be charged.
Manning said two of them were arrested at a lodge located in the Papa and Lealea villages.
“Search warrants were raised and raids were carried out at the villages,” he said.
He said a third man was taken into police custody last Friday at the Manu Autoport, and a fourth at a lodge in the area.
Police found AU$40,000 (K100,107.86) in cash on them, plus electronic items reportedly brought in the aircraft.
Manning said pilot Cutmore, who was fined K3,000 by a court in Waigani for illegal entry under the Migration Act 1978, could be deported.
“(We) are co-operating with Australia to have him deported,” Manning said.
Prime Minister James Marape had instructed police not to allow him out of the country until all investigations were completed.
Cutmore took police to the crash site and re-constructed the crime scene. Police then obtained search warrants from the court.
The four men in custody later showed police where they had hidden the 28 bags of cocaine, weighing 23 kg each.
Both police forces are working together to arrest all who were of the plan to take drugs into Australia.
“This investigations are continuing,” Manning said.
“We have identified other persons of interests but we will not disclose any information until we have completed investigations.”
The four PNG men arrested so far told police that their role was to load the 28 bags on to the Cessna 402C aircraft. But the aircraft failed to take off at the un-gazetted airstrip outside Port Moresby.
Cutmore told police earlier that the eight men who met him when he arrived on Sunday July 26 were unknown to him.
They assisted him in loading the 28 bags before he tried to take off.
Cutmore handed over to them three television sets he had brought with him, three play stations and three packages containing cash.
The aircraft crashed at the end of the airstrip when it failed to lift off.
He was rescued by the men who took him to Port Moresby and booked him at a lodge.
Cutmore presented himself to the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby on Tuesday


  • This culprit smuggler must be jailed. PNG should not be lenient with him with a lousy K 3,000 bail and deport him right away as this is a serious International crime. It is a syndicate operation that needs thorough investigation by the responsible authority.

  • Charge the Pilot under international Drug Trafficking Laws and other that is required to so that to set precedence for PNG. We can not be lenient of Australian Pilot. for we have a PNG serving a long jail; term in Australia for Drug Trafficking case.

  • These 4 locals are lower in the ‘food chain’ and hence insignificant. We want to learn of the involvement and arrest of the big dogs.

  • Very Interesting Movie I can Say:
    So the Pilot knew nothing about the Identifications of the 8 Local Back loaders.
    That is exactly implying that the 8 Local Back Loaders may have no clue about who will fly the Casna Bird Down Papa Lealea and perhaps have no connection with the Pilot.
    So!!!!!!!!Who are the Real Culprits Then????? I’am following up Closely to learn the CLIMAX ohhh…Man, we watching TOM CRUISE – AMERICAN MADE …The Gringo…

  • The pilot seem to be an old fellow in the drug syndicate and should not be allowed free. He should be jailed while investigations continue as he did not break only one law as reported which is illegal entry into PNG. He was integral part of the operation knowingly doing what he was doing. Why does he has to bring in the TV screens with cash to exchange with the locals? He knew what he was doing with knowledge of the content. You see here, this pilot is profoundly invaluable to the success of the drug smuggling business. Don’t take him easy, he is a lion. Apply all appropriate laws to deal with this drug porter and sue him to jail as this warrants in totality. In other countries like Indonesia and Philippines, its a death penalty straight away.

  • This group who tried to smuggle drugs to Australia is not the only one operating in PNG. There are more professionally organized syndicates who have infiltrated PNG’s police force, the shipping companies and those who work at the ports, the Customs and so forth, There are people who have been using their trade stores and clubs as fronts to move huge quantities of drugs, including ICE to Australia. The investigations must continue and the police must play smarter and the country’s drug laws toughened to include 50 years imprisonment and set hundreds of thousands kina range for fines!

  • Hold him in indefinite detention until the case is prosecuted with all key players identified, arrested and charged appropriately. He seem to be a key players as he had run many drug sorties at various locations in PNG in the past. The crash at Papa LeaLea wasn’t his lucky day.. Let him reveal all – from the big dogs down to the loaders.

  • This is a scene we can not address as if it’s something usual as it’s a syndicate of drug crime and smuggling. In a big picture the world is taking advantage seeing how easily the culprit so called David John Cutmore matching out of the scene with just K3000 bail. Very funny and at the same time speaking of something behind the scenes, if it’s something arranged then definitely there are some Papua New Guinean big dogs involved and that this investigation has to take place carefully and without fear or favour….

  • More revelation in the days ahead. The pilot knows more; this doesn’t sound like this is his first time smuggling drugs. He must be aware of his cargo. This is an international drug smuggling operation.
    The local men also know more.
    For violating PNG and international aviation law, the pilot must be prosecuted. He knew what he was getting himself into.
    I’m sure the drugs were destined for the Asian or Aussie market.
    Australian Federal Police will definitely investigate.
    Believe Royal PNG Police will get to the bottom of this.

  • So, how the drugs entered our country???
    What if the plane took off without crashing???

    Olsem tintin tasol….

  • wow ..too good ..what about those criminals stealing Millions and billion from this country..Our very own MPs

  • This scenario reflects the that of Kapris

    …needfully detailed investigation will expose those culprits behind the scenes.

  • Corruption at Its Best!!!….why bailing for just lausy K3000.00 and let him go????? This is totally wrong…can the responsible authorities wake up from your slumbers and start cramp down on those violating the so-called PNG and international Laws?…very funny indeed….

  • The magistrate who allowed K3000 bail should be questioned about his/her involvement. Could have been paid by Australian federal police.

  • PNGRPC this is your moment to shine, with limited resources use your best training into action. The world media is watching. My encouragement put God first in your line of work, because He will not fail you. Yes of course every PNG national involve must face the full force of our laws on assisting with trafficking of this dangerous drug. God Bless PNG

  • There are so many unanswered questions and the commissioner prempting early repatriation of the pilot defeats police investigation to ensure our authorities conclude their investigations conclusively. We have yet to get answers to this questions. Was the ICE produced in PNG? Who is/are the main characters behind the scene? Are our police men and women involved? Are our political leaders involved? Who are these local men? Are they the drug smugglers? Who engaged them? Police must now use brutal force they are known for to get the truth from the pilot and 4 PNG citizens. We are watching and tracking every detail of this investigation.

  • Just deport the culprit back to Australia and they can deal with him. I reckon this is not a big deal right now in PNG. I think the Covid-19 issue is the greatest risk to our people right now and we don’t want to be distracted with this drug deal.

  • I believe there is more to the truth than what meets the eye. The players ın this scene range from local kingpins, to senior public servants to maybe MPs. However without evidence, I hold my words, however, 6th sense ends up right more often than not.

  • The bags of cocaine were passed on to Cutmore by PNG men. So better also investigate where these men produced these 28 bags of cocaine weighing 23Kg!

    No offense to Court but K3000 is just A$1200. If this guy air lifted successfully, he’d get more than what you have charged him to pay. People need to understand that drug smuggling is serious! It would end up somewhere and people’s lives will be affected when they start using it.

    Decisions are too selfish and ignorant. Letting Cutmore go with a K3000 fine would just benefit someone else or he’d probably end up missing forever after being released from PNG. And without thoroughly investigating will leave a dead end.

    Let him stay in PNG until the investigations are completed!



  • There will be more revelations in the near future. I wont be surprise if some of our politicians and law enforcers are involve. Come on Police Minister, it’d time you come hard on this issue and make the right decision to have this idiots face the full force of our laws accordingly.

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