Papua New Guinea Minister for Internal Security, Peter Tsiamalili has applauded law enforcement cooperation that saw the interception of a large quantity of methamphetamines transported from Papua New Guinea to Australia.

“I can confirm that the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary has been working closely with the Australian Federal Police on a joint investigation into a Transnational and Serious Organised Crime syndicate moving narcotics between Papua New Guinea and Australia using a black flight Aircraft”, he said.

Speaking in Port Moresby, the Minister explained that black flights occur when a small aircraft flies undetected and with all electronic tracking equipment turned off.

These aircraft mostly use remote unmonitored airstrips, such as those in Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia.

“These black flights are operated by criminal syndicates to transport narcotics undetected.

“These activities cause harm both in PNG and within Australia”, Tsiamalili said.

The Minister said that the arrests today in Australia were a direct result of the close collaboration and cooperation between the RPNGC and Australian law enforcement partners and the air traffic control agencies that detect and track black flights.

“By working with Australian authorities this allows the net to be cast wider, apprehending transnational offenders across the Pacific, not just in PNG”, the Minister said.

The Minister said that the arrests today are the result of a covert operation that has been running since November 2022.

The aim of the operation is to disrupt a criminal syndicate working between PNG and Australia.

“As a result of today’s operation, five men were apprehended in Queensland Australia after the plane had arrived from PNG. In total, 52kg of methamphetamine with a street value of K40 million was seized”, Tsiamalili said.

The Minister said that further arrests are expected in both Papua New Guinea and Australia.

“I can confirm that on Wednesday afternoon, the RPNGC apprehended a 42-year-old male Chinese national at the Lae airport on suspicion of involvement in transnational crime,” he said.