Father, sons arrested for planting marijuana

National, Normal

A FATHER and his two sons are now in police custody in East New Britain after more than K300,000 worth of marijuana plants were found in their family garden during a police raid in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
The raid, which took place at Vunapalading No. 3, was part of a special Christmas/New Year operation code-named Bright Star by Kerevat and Livuan police with assistance from Tomaringa’s mobile squad 18.
Acting police station commander (Kerevat) Insp Michael Periwanga, who led the raid, said the marijuana plants were inter-planted with the family’s food crops such as peanut and chinese taro.
Insp Periwanga said the family even had a nursery for the marijuana plants.
Police uprooted 30 matured plants ranging between 1.5m-2m and weighing a total of 19kg.
Officers from the National Agricultural Research Institute’s Islands regional centre in Kerevat estimated the local street market value of the plants to be around K310,000.
Insp Periwanga said the successful raid was a result of a drug and illegal substance abuse community awareness that he and his men conducted at the start of the operation.
“I am glad that the awareness we conducted encouraged people to come forward with information about these illegal activities, but there is still more to be done,” he said.
He also said the use of marijuana and homebrew were becoming more prevalent in Papua New Guinean communities.
“Particularly in East New Britain, in the past, people sourced marijuana from the Highlands but now they are growing it themselves and this is quite alarming,” he said.
More than 30 people had been arrested and charged for drug-related offences since Operation Bright Star commenced on Dec 18.
The father and his sons and two other suspects are in custody at Kerevat police station waiting to appear in court.