19 Oct 2010

PNG police suspect syndicate behind drugs trade

6:57 pm on 19 October 2010

Police in Papua New Guinea say they believe a high-profile drug syndicate involving foreigners is operating in the country.

The Post Courier reports police in Yonki in Eastern Highlands province are confiscating about 200,000 US dollars worth of marijuana every month from travellers using the highway between Lae and Madang.

The police say the way the drug is making its way down to coastal areas has escalated over the last few months, leading them to believe a syndicate is operating between PNG and Australia.

They're urging the Government to increase the penalty for drug traffickers to more than 10 years.

But the deputy editor of the Post Courier, Peter Korugl, says the marijuana problem is so widespread police don't have the capacity to cope

"The police can't do much they are doing the best they can, but given the problems they have with logistic and man power. It's not like the problem is isolated to one area and they can focus on that area. I pity them, they are doing their best but the problem is overtaking them."

Peter Korul says marijuana is so widely used in PNG now it is affecting productivity and the country's economy.