$80 million cocaine destined for Australia busted in Papua New Guinea

A combined investigation of Australian Federal Police and the Royal PNG Constabulary has seized the biggest drug heist in the history of PNG on Friday night.
The drug- 750 kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than K200 million ($80 million), was connected to the mysterious plane crash last Sunday near the PNG LNG plant west of Port Moresby.
The Australian pilot who flew the light plane has turned himself in, appeared in court Friday and admitted to have flown the plane  illegally into PNG from Mareebe in far North Queensland, Australia.
He was fined K3000 and ordered out of PNG.
But Prime Minister James Marape has instructed Police Commissioner David Manning that he was a key state witness and he must remain in country to provide information about the trade.
Police, Customs and National Intelligence officers, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police, have successfully confiscated what Pandemic Controller and Police Commissioner David Manning described as the “biggest drug heist” in years.
Among the 28 bags containing 24 kgs of coccaine was a 55 inch TV set meant as a gift to those who would have successfully loaded the drugs onto the plane.
The accused pilot, David John Cutmore, 52, from Williams Landing, Melbourne Australia, admitted and pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawful entry.
The maximum penalty for the charge of illegal entry is K5000 fine or six months imprisonment.
Police prosecution during submission on sentence asked the court to impose the maximum penalty of K5000 fine since the offence of illegal entry was serious in nature.
The court was told that the accused did not have any passport or visa and flew an aircraft into the country illegally.
Although the court was told of illegal dealings including drug trade, no evidences where provided to the court.
The court presided by Magistrate Tracey Ganai ordered a K3000 fine considering that  police prosecutors did not provide any evidence or exhibits of illegal items allegedly in the procession of the accused pilot.
The court also noted that there was no evidence before the court on whether police were pursuing additional charges.
The only charge was illegal entry in breach of immigration laws.
Magistrate Ganai therefore ruled that the accused pay a fine of K3000 and be deported forthwith.
Failure to pay fine will result in a prison term of 4 months and deportation after completion of prison term.
Now that evidences have surfaced, additional charges could be laid.
-Post Courier

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