Drug bust

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By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
THE country’s biggest drug bust, involving more than 600kg of cocaine estimated to cost around K160 million, has been hailed as “great detective work” and the result of a two-year investigation by Australian and PNG police.
A team of police and Customs officers led by Deputy Police Commissioner Operations Donald Yamasombi found 28 black duffle bags containing “high-grade” cocaine wrapped in plastic, some Australian dollars and a flat-screen television near Papa-Lealea villages 30km outside Port Moresby last Friday.
It was near the makeshift airstrip where a Cessna 402C aircraft, which entered the country from Australia without clearance last Sunday, crashed when it tried to take off with its illegal cargo.
Police Commissioner David Manning said police knew “at the time it was a substantial amount of cocaine”.
“(There was an) organised gang involved in this and from what we knew, they were planning to have it removed from PNG via a black flight, a flight that was registered to fly into PNG airspace,” Manning said.
“We now know that the flight landed successfully (but) could not take off due to some mechanical fault.
“What ensued is the result of that flight (failing) to take off.
“The bags were left in an undisclosed location within the village.”
Australian Federal Police senior liaison officer Detective Superintendent Julian Bianco said what was achieved by both police forces was an “excellent result for law enforcement in the Pacific”.
“The seizure brings to a conclusion the long-time operation that has been overseen by the Royal PNG Constabulary and the AFP and Australian law enforcement,” Bianco said.
“Without the assistance of the PNG police and the great detective work, we certainly would not be standing here with this (illegal drugs).
“The aircraft travelled to PNG to collect drugs to take back to Australia.
“We are thankful to the PNG constabulary for stopping it from entering our shores.”
According to pictures obtained by The National, inside each of the black duffle bag was 1kg of cocaine wrapped and labelled 777.
Manning said the drug bust was the largest in the country’s history and the culmination of a two-year operation, and the result of “good detective work” by the Papua New Guinea and Australian police.

33 comments

  • How could we label this as “great detective work?”. It is only after the place failed to take off/crashed that police and others associated with the investigations got to seize the cocaine. It hadn’t crashed before taking off would we still call it “great detective work? We only call it great detective work when we used our investigative skills with the resources available to us to prevent this illegal operation from happening in the first place rather than after it has happened. A two year operation on this illegal operation didn’t prevent it from happening.

  • True…police haven’t yet caught any of the people involved other than the Australian Pilot who has handed himself into the Australian Consul service so what have the police done to date to bestow themselves credit. I think its like self promotion.

  • What do you mean caught this by chance? There was an on-going investigation for two years. The reason for this prolonged period is to amass evidence through surveillance so that when the perpetrators are arrested there will be ample and cogent evidence to send them away for a long time. The plane and airstrip was under surveillance for an extensive period. If this was by chance how will the Police sweep in and arrest the members of the syndicate in Melbourne, Northern Territory and link it ultimately to the Italian Mafia? It was great detective work indeed. If the plane hadn’t crashed the arrest would’ve been made in Northern Territory. AFP was aware of the movements. It did not come upon this bust by chance. So Dirty Stag analyze your facts before criticizing journalists. Mekim na tupla blind follower blo yu concur nating!

    • Three Niner, if the investigation was in progress for 2 yrs in PNG. The authorities would have people of interest all listed up and when the plane crashed PNG police would have made the arrest by now. Yet we have no idea how the cocaine got into PNG in the first place. Avgas was provided to the plane yet we don’t have no idea when the fuel came from, where the drugs were stored before transportation to Papa Lealea, who transported the drugs who loaded them on the plane, nogat tru we have no idea. Australians did their jobs so they made the arrests. Na Yumi?

      • so whats gonna happend now?? police should not praise themselves as yet, what about the people involved ???will it take another two years to investigate eh???

  • There’s no credit for the AFP or RPNGC here, no one did good job here to be commended.. It just happened by chance or coincidence because the plane crash landed on taking off. Otherwise it was meant to be another sneaky deal…..

  • Its not even a “great Detective Work”. You’re lucky enough to say that. Our Air Traffic Control can not detect on their radar, when this crashed plane was entering PNG.

  • Great lie by the COP, how did you uncoverewd this drug trade? you were lucky enought the plane crash otherwise these drug should have left your jurisdiction without your knowlegde.

  • David Manning and all his detectives should give credit to the aircraft! This would not have made headlines if not for the engine failure.

  • This is a ‘tip of an iceberg’ – needs thorough investigation to hold everyone responsible for this drug syndicate. RPNGC why getting credits for nothing?

  • K.3000 fine for the pilot is a joke. In Singapore or Indonesia he would have been condemned to death. Our locals are charged more for smuggling betelnut into POM while an international drug trafficking has to pay peanuts for transportation drugs worth over 80M Aus $. Hard to understand the logic here.

    • It’s a laughing stock and a stupidity at its best for whoever fined the drug trafficking pilot the mere K3,000.00. What a ridiculous joke!

  • The pilot should have been fined more than K10,000 00. It was a day light drug trafficking which has been going on for a long time. PNG Government do not bow down to Australias sweet talks. He has violented immgration laws of png, png Aviation regulations and rules, on going illegal drug trafficking. Just throw him jail and let him serve life imprisonment here in png jails.

  • Where were the police when operated that way for so many years. The police and news reporters must write the report correctly. I don’t think the police would find out if the plane doesn’t crash during take off.

  • Great investigative work involves arresting and charging and labelling the appropriate charges and ensuring that the culprits are convicted and imprisoned. What Kind of policing is this in PNG?
    We failed to detect this sindicate and their operations. We had all the hard evidence at hand by chance, thanks to their failure. Yet he was only charged for illegal entry and he’s just freed just like that.
    It is highly suspicious that police received bribe, yet they’re claiming to have done a tremendous work. “Only in PNG”!!

  • Get real…please there is no real police work or detective work. There is clear evidence police can’t really do their work professionally. It starts from a simple petty crime to big profile crime. Documentation of such is not evident no wonder is crushed by the courts all because no evidence or insufficient evidence.
    I am in support that there needs to be greater attention drawn and support to this so our policemen and women can perform heir duties more efficiently and professionally.

  • We should thank the aircraft for its failure to airlift those drugs.
    I believe its the first time on an air transport but it might have been done on sea for quite some time by this so called Italian Mafia.
    Fearing for an arrest came the action to airlift the Cocaine.
    Information may have been licked out by an insider to inform the gang.
    Detectives well done but we need more arrest starting from the village, who owns the vehicle that transports the drugs, who was the first on crash site scene, check for contacts etc…etc.
    You guys knew your job but beware of bribes from the big FISH.

  • The key person is already in Police custody so interrogate him (the pilot) and arrest the rest of the culprits. PNG don’t be surprised to know that some high profile persons might be involved. I don’t think an ordinary criminal on the street would have connections with such people from overseas. This is a big money business..

  • I highly doubt it was the result of good detective work!!
    What if the airplane never crashed???
    Commissioner, a lot of work needs to be done in the RPNGC to rais the standards. Australia is right now praising their cops for this drug discovery in PNG.

  • PNG is just riding on the work done by Australia. We have done nothing! No Crash, No news. Rubbish journalism, no investigation, no nothing just reporting what Australia AFP is reporting. Blary pipia reporting.

  • Are you trying to tell me that the planning for this bust right up to the mechanical failure in the aircraft taking off was part of a grand scheme that the RPNGC and the AFP had been planning?? What’s so hard to admit that you just got lucky, had it not been for the mechanical fault nobody would have been the wiser.

  • This is not the outcome of police detective work as reported, but its a situational outcome. If it was a police detective work then this knowledge of the cocaine or drug deal should not be sparked out of the plan crash. It is because of the plan crashed that this idea of drug deal has been evolving and gradually stimulating detective investigation. If it meant to be the result from the police detective work then where were you police detective investigation team when this drug deal has been going on for the last two years? You police detective team should stop this drug dealing long ago prior to plan crash or early two years ago. If the plan didn’t crash do you police detective investigation team think you will detect this drug deal? Look at other criticism made by other critics like Dirty Stag which is convincing and really true. PNG royal need to pull up you socks as we are into next level of criminal activities in our beautiful country PNG.

  • K3,000 fine? That is total BS. For smuggling unbelievable amount of illegal drug worth Millions and the charge is way less than what the Government has imposed for Betelnut trade, being on the phone while driving, drink driving, etc…and they think they are doing a good job? Stop kidding yourself…the Police in PNG are a joke, what great investigative work do they do on every day situations that gives you hope that they can perform such a “great investigative” work on the international stage?

    Look at all the killings with no culprit caught, where are the investigations of all the government officials gone, what happens to all the investigative work put into high profile peoples actions, etc…

    Just like any top crime committed, an accident or social media is actually what gets them caught. Police do nothing to investigate even if one reports a crime, it takes a long time for an action to be done. This is ridiculous for the Police to give themselves credit and think that they deserve it too…

  • This country not long will be run by the crime syndicate and transnational gangs, like Russian mafia, Italian mafia, Yakuza, MS13…etc

  • I agree, it’s through the plan crash that the police joint operation by AFP and PNGRC were able to confiscate the high profile international drug smuggling on the land of our beautiful Christian country PNG and it is not through a successful detective investigation as claimed.

    The claimed ‘successful detective investigation’ should now come into play based on these evidences of cocaine, drugs and the captured men and the pilot, and reveal to the people Australia and PNG, especially the citizens of PNG the route or source of this high profile drug smuggling. Who are the people behind, who funds and operates it and where is the drug and cocaine came from or produce. The people of PNG deserve the right to know this information since it is a high profile international drug smuggling that PNG is now involved for the past 2 years.

    The captured men need to be arrested and toughly questioned including the pilot. They must revealed how they involved and who hired them to perform their respective acts. The pilot who have already deported to Australia should be locked up in PNG and be question on his involvement journey to PNG. I am doubting why the PNG Government, the law enforces especially, allows the pilot to be charged and bailed only under Immigration Act for illegal entry and being deported. Why shouldn’t him being question about his mission or reason to fly into PNG and why landing at Papa Lealea remote air strip without being detected by the radar at Jacksons International Airport? The people of PNG needs to know all these information. The deporting of the pilot back to Australia tells that our PNG Government are not serving this nation for the best interest of the 8.5 plus million Papua New Guineas but rather for the best interest of the Ministers and MPs.

    It is grateful if the police joint operation (by AFT and PNGRC) can now do a ‘successful detective investigation’ and let the people of PNG know who are the founder and operator or who are the participants of these drug smuggling. Papua New Guineans by blood and culture have the right to know these information since it is a high profile international criminal activities and it is threatening to the future of our nation as a whole including our culture and Melanesian way of living.

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