Four NSW Men Charged After 52 kg Of Meth Found On Plane From PNG
Police “extremely concerned”
Five men have been charged after allegedly orchestrating a “black flight” from Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Sydney, carrying 52 kg of methamphetamine on board.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said four of them were from New South Wales.
Police said a “black flight” would commonly refer to a light aircraft that logged false flight plans (or not logged at all), flown at a very low altitude or turned off flight monitoring systems to avoid law enforcement or aviation monitoring systems.
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The investigation, which went on for several months, was part of Operation Gepard, the NSW Police Force’s State Crime Command and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
According to the AFP, when the plane flew to Bulolo in PNG, police found 52 kg of methamphetamine on board hidden in duffle bags.
Five men have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), including two co-piloted, aged 51 and 52 years old, a 40-year-old man from Wilton, a 54-year-old Newcastle man and a 40-year-old with no fixed address.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Eastern Command Stephen Dametto said the charges highlighted the lengths alleged criminal syndicates would go to, to get illicit drugs to Australia.
“These men have not only allegedly imported a dangerous drug, but flying at a low altitude without proper monitoring systems poses a huge safety risk to other aircraft and to emergency services members in the event of an incident,” he said.
NSW Police Force’s State Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said the dangers methamphetamine presented on the state’s streets was “extremely concerning”.
“Through Strike Force Redground, we have thwarted a potential new route from establishing its roots in NSW, with all five accused men to appear before the courts.”
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