27 Jan 2005

Australian jailed in PNG for smuggling guns in exchange for drugs across the Torres Strait

8:32 pm on 27 January 2005

Papua New Guinea police say an Australian man jailed for gun smuggling was a suspected member of a criminal gang running guns to PNG through the Torres Strait in exchange for drugs.

Brian Winston Smith, a South African migrant to Australia, could face further charges after being sentenced to nine months in a PNG jail after pleading guilty to gun smuggling.

Smith pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing a .22 rifle, one charge of possessing 70 rounds of ammunition and one charge of illegally entering PNG.

Senior constable John Konga says Smith was caught by police in Daru on January 16 after crossing the border from the Torres Strait in a motor boat on a known trafficking route for guns and drugs.

Government doctor, John Konga, was also arrested and charged with conspiring with Smith to import the rifle and ammunition.

He is due to appear in court next week.

PNG's southern division police commander, John Marru, said Smith and Konga had liaised for some time and their arrests reinforced intelligence that a highly-organised criminal gang was trafficking guns and drugs through Daru and the Torres Strait.