Eight suspects arrested over PNG meth flight

Photo: Queensland Police Service

A Papua New Guinea police officer, a Defence Force soldier from Igam Barracks, and a second Chinese national are among seven more men arrested in Lae over the weekend and are being questioned in relation to the “Bulolo black flight” last Tuesday.

Another suspect of Chinese nationality, who was arrested last week, appeared before the Lae District Court for arraignment on Friday which brings the total to eight suspects.

Deputy Commissioner of Police-Specialist Operations Donald Yamasombi confirmed the arrests saying that a local security firm is alleged to be involved in the transportation of 52 kilograms of methamphetamines out of Lae into Bulolo and assisted in getting the drugs onboard the flight.

“They are alleged to have transported the Chinese suspect and the drugs from Lae to Bulolo and provided him security.

This also involves a local security company in Lae.

“One Lae based policeman and one soldier from Igam Barracks are among those arrested and charged.

Including another Chinese man, Ning Hezhong aged 62, who allegedly helped Chun Li load the drugs onto the security company vehicle to be taken to Bulolo.”

Total arrests in Lae by our investigators stands at eight, DCP Yamasombi said.

“More arrests will be made as we expand investigations.

“I would like to credit our Lae police investigators for tireless efforts so far, the Lae Transnational Crimes and Intelligence team have been on top of this issue since we were made aware of the reports,” he said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Douglas Tomuriesa has also called on the government to come clear on the funding available for drug investigations.

“When drugs landed on Budibudi Island, I called on the government and made it clear that drugs were already in the country, this was before the Central and Bulolo flights.

“We need to fund the National Intelligence Organisation (NIO) because they are the government’s eyes, they will see what is happening and advise government, police and PNGDF and other organisations where they can take precautions, we are sitting back and allowing things to happen which they happen and then we are running to parliament to advise on what happened.”

Bulolo MP Sam Basil Jr, on Friday, called on Minister for Internal Security Peter Tsiamalili Jrr to ensure police personnel in Bulolo are adequately supported, following the “black flight”.

However, Basil said that this latest drug-running activity is a worrying sign with regards to transnational criminals using districts like Bulolo for their illegal activities.

“Looking at the AFP police report, it is obvious this was a well planned and executed mission by this drug cartel, who had contacts, associates, and resources in Bulolo to carry out the operation. “This means individuals within Bulolo or Lae prior to this were actively plotting to use the airfield to supply the aircraft with the drugs, and most likely had local knowledge about the airfield,” he said.

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