Drug traffickers are said to have been a little too greedy by overloading a light plane with more than half a ton of cocaine, causing the plane to crash shortly after takeoff.
Australian federal police said on Saturday they had dismantled a network of cocaine importers in a crash on July 26.
It all started when a trafficker flew in the morning from Mareeba airport, in the state of Queensland in Australia, to Papua New Guinea. The pilot kept an altitude of only 1,000 meters in an attempt to evade radars, police said.
Then, in the afternoon, the trafficker attempted to take off from the isolated Lea Lea airport with his plane, which had meanwhile been packed with more than 500 kg of cocaine. However, the aircraft crashed on take off, most likely because it was destabilized by its cargo.
Pitiful, the Australian pilot went to his country’s embassy in Papua New Guinea two days later, where he was arrested. The investigation then led to the discovery of the drug shipment, valued at over AUS $ 80 million (approximately CAN $ 77 million).
No less than five people have been arrested and face a slew of charges, including conspiracy to import large quantities of drugs. They face penalties that could go as far as life imprisonment.
Police believe the large seizure will impact drug distribution networks in eastern Australia.
“Our wastewater analyzes show that these major supply disruptions [en drogue] by law enforcement has an impact on consumption in our communities, ”said Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Matthew Rippon in a statement.