Plane overloaded with cocaine crashes on take-off, exposing alleged crime syndicate

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The Cessna plane, which was stuffed with greater than 500 kilograms (1,100 kilos) of cocaine, went down whereas trying to go away a distant airstrip in Papua New Guinea on July 26.

Australian Federal Police mentioned in a press release that “greed played a significant part in the syndicate’s activities” and added they “cannot rule out that the weight of the cocaine had an impact on the planes (sic) ability to take off.”

Five suspects had been arrested in Queensland and Victoria in current days, and have been charged with conspiring to import over 500 kilograms of cocaine and a lot of associated offenses. They every face a most sentence of life in jail if convicted. The pilot was additionally arrested two days later, after surrendering himself to police.

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Authorities mentioned the aircraft had flown to Papua New Guinea from the small city of Mareeba in Far North Queensland, flying at about 3,000 ft to keep away from detection by radar.

The cocaine stash was ultimately discovered on Friday after a search of the world. Its whole worth was estimated to be round 80 million Australian {dollars} ($57M USD), the equal of about 500,000 road offers.

“With current interstate travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the attempt to import illicit drugs into Australia shows how opportunistic and greedy organised crime can be,” AFP deputy commissioner Ian McCartney mentioned in a press release.

The arrested males — aged 31, 36, 31, 33, and 61 — had been charged with quite a lot of crimes. The first man arrested faces costs of directing actions of a legal syndicate and cash laundering of over $1m AUD. Quite a lot of belongings had been seized by police, with an estimated whole worth of $3.5 million AUD.

The medicine bust is likely one of the largest in current Australian historical past. In 2016, a similar-sized 500 kilogram haul of cocaine was seized by officers in New South Wales.

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