K200m Cocaine Haul Now In Police Hands

Drugs plane bound for Australia was so packed with cocaine it was too heavy to take off, police say

On 26 July, the Cessna left Mareeba Airport and headed to Papua New Guinea, flying at below 1000 metres in order to evade radar.

Five members of a Melbourne-based crime syndicate were arrested on Monday, shortly after the plane was dispatched from the Aussie state of Queensland to nearby Papua New Guinea to collect the drugs, cops said.

Police say the crash may have been inevitable thanks to the "greed" of the alleged smugglers, who loaded the plane with so much cocaine it couldn't fly.

The five men arrested had made their way in the australian city of Atherton in order to prepare the aircraft in the direction of the Papua and get to the back to retrieve the drugs.

Papua New Guinea's (PNG) total COVID-19 cases have reached 110, with 19 more cases recorded on Sunday.

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Police charged alleged members of a syndicate they said conspired to transport cocaine between the two countries.

The Cessna aircraft, which was stuffed with more than 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cocaine, went down while attempting to leave a remote airstrip in Papua New Guinea on July 26. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

In a statement, the australian federal police, explains that "greed has played an important role in the activities" of the group of criminals and " can not exclude the possibility that the weight of the cocaine may have had an impact on the ability of the plane to take off ". The pilot surrendered himself to police a couple of days after the accident and was arrested, too. He was arrested and has been charged with an immigration offence.

AFP Deputy Commissioner Investigations Ian McCartney said it's the end of a two-year multi-agency drugs operation. Police confiscated several assets, with an estimated total value of $ 3.5 million Australian dollars.

'Australian law enforcement remains committed to working collectively to protect Australia, which is especially important now, due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the community'.

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