Drug bust 5

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Five in court over PNG’s biggest drug haul estimated at K160mil

By BOURA GORUKILA
AN Australian pilot, an Italian yacht owner, and three locals appeared before a Port Moresby court yesterday on various charges relating to the country’s biggest drug bust last month, valued at K160 million.
In the District Court before Magistrate Dessie Kaputin Magaru yesterday were:

  • Pilot David John Cutmore, 52, of Australia, charged with conveying on board an aircraft smuggled goods namely 611kg of cocaine under the Customs Act, and failure to comply with international travel measures under the National Pandemic Act 2020;
  • Carlos Attanasio, 52, of Italy who owns the yacht Badu, charged with one count of smuggling prohibited imports namely 611kg of cocaine, and one count of being in possession of 50 grams of cocaine under the Customs Act;
  • LOCALS Dominic Telauki, 35, of Mortlock Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Shane Dikana, 30, of Central, and Morgan Mogu, 35, also of Central, charged with aiding the foreigners and smuggling goods under the Customs Act.
Australian pilot in the drug bust case, David John Cutmore (left) leaving the Waigani Committal Court yesterday.

Police allege that on July 26, at Papa Lealea village outside Port Moresby, Cutmore, the pilot of a Cessna 402C twin-engine aircraft with registration number VHTSI, failed to comply with measures (not to travel into PNG from another country) under Section 47 (1) (a) of the National Pandemic Act, 2020.
He is also alleged to have on the same date, without reasonable excuse, boarded the aircraft and smuggled 611kg of cocaine bound for Australia, contrary to Section 151 (2) (a) of the Customs Act.
Cutmore was represented by Agnes Peter from the Public Solicitor’s Office.
His case has been adjourned to Aug 25 as investigations are still in progress.
Attanasio is alleged to have on Aug 3, at Kupiano station, Abau, Central, in his possession on board a yacht, prohibited imports (50g of cocaine).
He was also alleged to have at Kupiano station smuggled into the country prohibited imports (611kg of cocaine) under Section 149 (1) of the Customs Act.
His case was also adjourned to Aug 25.
Magistrate Magaru told him to look for a lawyer to represent him in his next court appearance.
Cutmore and Attanasio are remanded at the Bomana refugee detention centre.
Dikana and Telauki’s case was adjourned at the request of their lawyer Thomas Wynn who needed more time to consult them.
Mogu, Telauki and Dikana have been remanded at the Boroko police station to await their application for bail.
Their case returns to court also on Aug 25.

25 comments

  • If we as Papua New Guinean and we don’t want corruption in our country lets do something that will also teach others a lesson for corruption.

  • What about the lady who is a protocal manager at prime minister’s office who was also implicated on this saga? Is she immune for investigation? If so then why?

  • interested to know why was the Italian in the country at in the first place; employed, private business or what??

    may be some background infor. on the 3 locals too would be good

  • the exposure if showing what has been been taking place under the authorities noses.

    now time to dig in deeper to find out the extend of the problem.

    thank you PNG.

  • Why are the foreigners at the refugee camp instead of the general PNG cells or Bomana?

    They should all get life sentences as what they are doing is endangering millions of people not only in PNG but Australia and the world. Do we know how long they had been operating there illegally? What sort of legal implications do we have on outsiders using PNG as they have?

  • The Italian has been allowed to enter the country and was in waiting for the said pilot. He may have bribed the unsuspecting countrymen into believing that they could do that for a large sum of money as they acted as the gate keepers of the said airstrip. Did the Italian enter the country with correct/legal Visa documents or fraudulently done. Track the trail of how the passport was issued for him to enter the country in waiting for the said pilot to transport the drugs.

    • I support your statement. The investigation team really need to look through this to expose others who are believed to be hiding in the cave of the drug deal.

  • These guys were so unlucky this time because the plane had crashed on take-off otherwise no one else in PNG will ever know of this illegal operation except for the crooks themselves. Only God knows how many other operations of same nature may have been successfully carried out without detection in the past.

  • How many said illegal activities have been happening here in PNG, I think this thing has been going on for some good years and yet we don’t know.
    When a God fearing man is in charge, everything hidden come to show.
    All this hidden secrets are exposing one by one and very soon all of this people who are behind this illegal activities will be eXposed.

  • The Police Commissioner claims that police knew about this syndicate for sometime. It was unlucky for the operators that the plane crashed. If the crash did not occur, the police would not have a single idea about the operation. Meanwhile, what baffles me is, the plane landing and taking off in some unauthorised airstrip somewhere in the Papa/Lealea community would have attracted some people. It would have raised some questions in the minds of people there too and yet they choose to remain mute on it is funny. Or it may be one of the many landings of the same plane so they choose not to be bothered. If so, then the syndicate may have been many operating for some time.

  • What baffles me is, the plane landing and taking off in some unauthorised airstrip somewhere in the Papa/Lealea community would have attracted some people. It would have raised some questions in the minds of people there too and yet they choose to remain mute on it is funny. Or it may be one of the many landings of the same plane so they choose not to be bothered. If so, then the syndicate may have been many operating for some time.

  • You can’t allow bail for drug traffickers. In Indonesia or Singapore they would be already on the death row now for the amount of drugs smuggled.
    Also, PNG police can call itself lucky, because without that plane crash they wouldn’t have had any clue that such an international network of criminals were operating in PNG, using PNG as a transit point to enter Australia. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine how many ‘successful’ flights they had already in the past.
    Names of PNG officials (Police, Immigration, Airport service etc) should also be published and investigated properly. Looks like something very deep.

  • The so called managers of this great country have lost their wisdom or may have lacked knowledge on security issue in this nation. What control measures put in place to detect such foreign plan landed in our airports or air strips around the country? Do we have lists of small active air strips run by our missions and other government agencies? Do we also have seterlite that record the number of boats and ships entering our country? This is a security issues needed to be addressed immediately. Let’s blamed the people in authority for such international crimes due to lack of no proper installations of security siviliances or seterlite to detect such activities. Do we have a Minister responsible for security in this country ?? How about NAC, are they doing their job right? This is a wake up call for the country….

  • I think the Dangerous Drus Act should be revisited an perhaps repealed. Stiffer penalties should be prescribed. Currently the max is 2 or 3 years. Which is quite lenient.

    This instant case is quite serious. It’s a case where alot of sophistication is involved. I agree with Independent Observer that in Indonesia and other jurisdictions they are seriously dealt with. For them, death penalty is the maximum prescribed penalty.

    Our country should embrace such serious approach. This will send a clear message to would be offenders.

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