The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013
By ADAM MERA
A RECORD haul of marijuana, possibly destined for the overseas market, was made by police in Kerema, Gulf, last weekend.
Eleven bags containing 84.5kg of the illicit drug were confiscated by police after they apprehended four suspects who led them to their campsite at Lorope, near the provincial capital.
It was the biggest haul of marijuana so far, according to the National Drug and Vice Squad but a spokesman said they were reluctant to give a street value for fear of encouraging more drug smuggling.
NDVS officer-in-charge Det Chief Insp Joel Kapinias said yesterday the four suspects were part of a group of 13 men who had smuggled the drug from Goroka, Eastern Highlands, to Kerema via Morobe.
Kapinias said the four were apprehended on the Murua River as they were heading into Kerema to pick up food rations for the group.
He said the other nine escaped while Kerema police were on their way to their campsite at Lorope.
“As the suspects were paddling in a dugout canoe heading to Kerema town, they were spotted by villagers who grew suspicious and alerted the local (Kerema) police,” Kapinias said.
He said when Kerema police were informed they acted immediately to intercept the drug smugglers.
“The police headed out in a 15-horse powered boat and met the suspects on the river,” Kapinias said.
He said the four suspects then led the police officers to their campsite.
“The other nine, upon hearing the advancing policemen, made off into bush,” he said.
Kapinias said the four suspects were taken to the Kerema police station and charged.
He said the NDVS was then notified.
“On Saturday (last week), the National Drug and Vice Squad, led by Det Sgt Bruno Morgan, left for Kerema to take over the investigation,” Kapinias said.
Upon further interrogation, Morgan and his team found that the drugs were not heading for Port Moresby.
“From the way the drugs were packed, we don’t think they are for Port Moresby,” Morgan said.
“Nor do we think it is for Daru.”
He said Daru did not have the market for such a large quantity of marijuana.
“We found a couple of text messages on the suspects’ phone which we believe are from the bigger fish,” Morgan said.
“From our findings so far, we are assuming that the drugs are either for the overseas market or are for gun trading.”
The four suspects are being detained at the Boroko police cells and are expected to appear before the Boroko District Court in Port Moresby this week.