The National, Thursday, May 19, 2011
By JUNIOR UKAHA
MARIJUANA worth K500,000 destined for the Torres Strait islands was seized by Daru police in a dawn raid at Mabudawan village in Western.
The 10.5kg of dried marijuana had been neatly packed in newspapers and compressed in a plastic bag when it was discovered in a house where two suspects were living.
Provincial police commander Peter Philips said his officers from the drug and human smuggling unit, led by senior constable Kally Pamuan, raided the village in the early hours of May 7 after a tip-off.
They arrested a couple for being in possession of the marijuana.
Philips said the drugs could fetch up to K500,000 on the Australian market.
The suspects, who are yet to be charged by police, were identified as a 32-year-old mother of four and a 30-year-old father both from villages in Daru.
Philips said the pair was living in a de-facto relationship when they were caught with the marijuana.
Philips said after questioning police discovered that the drugs originated from Kerema in nearby Gulf and was on its way to Australia via Daru.
Philips said the arrest took the number of drug-related arrests to 51 people in five months involving 35 cases recorded in Daru, Kuinga, Tabubil, Balimo and Lingrum for this year.
Philips said the suspects were in custody and would appear before the Daru district court later this month.
“We (police) know that a lot of proceeds from this illegal trade is being used to fund the election of some prominent people,” Philips said.
“In most cases the drugs belong to high profile people who use the vulnerable as tools to execute their dirty work,” he said.
“How can someone from remote Goilala or Southern Highlands have the money to travel to Daru to trade drugs?” Philips asked.