A joint agency task force in West Sepik responding to Covid-19 yesterday busted an ongoing vanilla trade between East Sepik and Jayapura, Indonesia.
A female who is the key figure dubbed as the “Eastern Queenpin” was tracked down today with hundreds of kilograms of vanilla and shark fins estimated to be in the value of K400,000.
The provincial Covid-19 coordinator Timothy Teklan could not be reached for comments but information posted on their social media page say despite the international border lock down since January 28 “ the Eastern Queenpin through an established syndicate continues to run operations from East Sepik Province to Vanimo and onto Jayapura across the seas with 23 foot fibre glass boats powered by 40-80 HP engines,or using land transport or the commercial airline operators.”
“Despite several interceptions by law enforcement officers in Sandaun Province, the Eastern Queenpin has always managed to find a way out and stubbornly resume operations.”
A reliable source among the provincial response team said last night they have not released the name of the female and her accomplices because of the sensitivity in tracking and busting the trade connections.
When they were caught today, they intended to move the vanilla and shark fins to Indonesia.
Based on a long running Joint Agency Task Force intelligence operation, the Eastern Queenpin, her accomplices and their cargoes had intention to transport their cargo to a particular point of entry and exit and moved across into Jayapura, Indonesia.
The West Sepik Provincial Joint Agency Task Force is on high alert given the continuous defiance of State of Emergency Orders by individuals and entities.
The Eastern Queenpin’s cargoes were now kept in a highly secured location in Vanimo.
Photos shown on the agency’s Facebook page indicated the cargoes were sent through Air Niugini from Wewak to Vanimo.