PNG man arrested for conspiring to import cocaine after voluntarily travelling to Australia


A 36-year-old man has been arrested by the Queensland Joint Organised Crime Task Force (QJOCTF), following the investigation of an alleged conspiracy to import 300 kilograms of cocaine into Australia from Peru via Singapore and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The PNG national was arrested this morning (27 June 2018) at Brisbane International Airport after he voluntarily travelled to Australia.

This latest arrest follows the arrest of two men and a woman in Australia on 14 June 2018.

The estimated street value of the cocaine; had it reached Australian communities, is $105 million.

Operation Harmanecka began in June 2017, after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) identified an Australian and PNG based syndicate suspected of planning a drug importation into Australia from Peru.

After the arrests on 14 June 2018 in Sydney and Brisbane, QJOCTF members travelled to PNG and worked with local authorities in relation to this investigation.

The 36-year-old PNG man will be charged with:

Conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug contrary to section Section 307.1(1) and Section 11.5(1) Criminal Code Act (Cth).
Dealing in proceeds of crime – money or property worth $10000 or more contrary to Section 400.6 (1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The conspiracy to import charge has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The man will appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court today where bail will be opposed.

Investigations are continuing and additional arrests are anticipated.

The Queensland JOCTF is a team of specialists from the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service (QPS), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the Australian Border Force, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which together targets organised crime.