PNG drugs suspects remanded

Photo: SLM

A Lae district court in Papua New Guinea has rejected bail for an expatriate and six Papua New Guineans implicated in the K35 million (US$9.9 million) methamphetamine bust in Lae last Tuesday.

All seven, appearing from police custody, were issued warrants of remand and sent to Buimo Jail after their application for bail was rejected by the court.

Magistrate Lorna Sani ordered that all be remanded at Buimo jail until their next court date.

The court remanded Ning Hezhong, 64, from Fuzieng’s Fuging City, China; Levi Wartovo, 39, from Wau-Waria’s Kuimba village, Morobe; Hosea Tarere, 32, from Rabaul’s Pilapila village, East New Britain; Steven Temen, 28, from Gumine’s Sipagul village, Chimbu; Luke Meda, 33, from Central’s Tubusereia village; Joshua Tupana, 33, from Siwai’s Siroi village, Bougainville; and, Alfred Sanage, 35, from Dei’s Mala village in Western Highlands.

All were charged with one count of trafficking controlled substance.

Despite lawyers for the defendants making oral applications before the court to have their bail applications heard, magistrate Sani asked prosecutor Sergeant Vincent Suakai for his oral submission.

Suakai stated that the Controlled Substance Act stated that the court did not have the jurisdiction to grant bail because the quantity of the drug exceeded 2kg — 52kg in this case.

He said bail however, could be decided by a higher court later and application could be made at the National Court.

Police alleged that on March 21, the defendants were at Section 100, Allotment 14, Cassowary Road in Lae.

The court heard that the defendants helped each other to allegedly move the controlled substance (methamphetamine), packed in 88 plastic bags, from Seventh Street in Lae to Bulolo for transportation by air to Australia. The case will return to court on 03 May for a second mention.