5kg of meth intercepted before reaching Cape York Peninsula

Six people have been arrested and charged by the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) for attempting to import five kilograms of methamphetamine into Australia via the Torres Strait.

The arrests are a result of intelligence developed by the AFP and RPNGC, which indicated one of the men and a woman were attempting to import the drugs from PNG into Australia via boat to the remote Australian community of Bamaga, which is the main township in the Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York.

Information received by law enforcement suggested members of an overseas criminal syndicate located in PNG, were targeting Australia. The AFP used this information to identify the syndicate’s attempt to import drugs via boat into Australia.

This information was shared to the RPNGC Transnational Crime Unit by the AFP officer located on Thursday Island, via the International Command liaison post in Port Moresby, enabling the RPNGC to conduct an investigation into the syndicate.

The RPNGC investigation resulted in the arrest of two men and one woman in Mabadauan, PNG, on 22 November. Information gathered during the arrests led to an additional two men being arrested in Daru, PNG, on 28 November before the final member of the syndicate was arrested in Port Moresby on 1 December.

The import could have been broken up into more than 50,000 individual street deals.

Media_Law enforcement speak to an alleged criminal

AFP Commander Melinda Phelan said the strength of the AFP’s partnerships in the Pacific played a key role in the arrest of six people who allegedly planned to profit off the exploitation of Australian communities.

“The work of the AFP is focused on the disruption of organised crime, while also making the community aware of the dangers and harms of these insidious substances,” Commander Phelan said.

“Following the arrests, an AFP member joined with our partners from ABF and Queensland Police to hold a community meeting to talk about the dangers of methamphetamine and what we could do to help combat those seeking to push this horrible drug into and through their community.”

Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Deputy Commissioner of Police Special Operations Donald Yamasombi expressed gratitude to the team of law enforcement officials for their dedicated efforts in apprehending the suspects.

“Law enforcement officials and other organisations, such as customs, are making every effort to guard the border and detain those engaged in illicit activity,” Deputy Commissioner Yamasombi said.

Enquiries to the criminal syndicate are ongoing and members of the public with knowledge or information are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppers.com.au

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