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

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

A Cessna 402C bound for Australia crashed in Papua New Guinea because the 500kg of cocaine it was carrying impaired its ability to take off, the Australian Federal Police have suggested.

The heavy cargo, worth an estimated $80 million on the streets, was seized by police in PNG after a failed take off.

Five members of a Melbourne-based crime syndicate were arrested on Monday, shortly after the plane was dispatched from the Aussie state of Queensland to nearby Papua New Guinea to collect the drugs, cops said.

The five, who were not on the flight but were implicated in the smuggling operation, were arrested in Queensland and Victoria after the Cessna model light aircraft departed Mareeba Airport in Australia on July 26 for its mission to Papua New Guinea.

Police claim the group of Australians travelled from Melbourne and Sydney to Atherton in Queensland between 19 and 25 July with the aim of conspiring to retrieve the drug haul from Papua New Guinea.

Manning said the bust was part of a two-year investigation between the two forces and was a serious disruption to organised transnational crime.

In a statement, the australian federal police, explains that "greed has played an important role in the activities" of the group of criminals and " can not exclude the possibility that the weight of the cocaine may have had an impact on the ability of the plane to take off ". He was arrested and has been charged with an immigration offence.

The arrested men, aged 31, 36, 31, 33 and 61, were charged with a variety of crimes.

The country's prime minister, James Marape, said at the time he suspected it was used for drug trafficking and asked Australian authorities to help uncover the mystery. They face life in prison for their role in the alleged scheme.

Photos released by police also showed a recovered drug package marked with "777" and hiding spaces within a truck.

The crashed aircraft is shown on its belly in scrubland, one engine still smoking and a wing destroyed by fire.

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