13 Nov 2012

PNG drug seizure protected Pacific region: police

3:10 pm on 13 November 2012

Methamphetamine worth $9.79 million which wasseized on its way to Papua New Guinea could have been destined for other countries in the region, including New Zealand.

Three men appeared in court in Port Moresby on Monday charged with conspiracy to import 50 kilograms of methamphetamine.

British police intercepted the shipment, which was concealed inside two welding machines, on its way from the Netherlands to PNG and replaced it with soap powder.

Police spokesperson Inspector David Terry says PNG officers worked with police in Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

"Literally, we provided a shield for the Pacific by intercepting this huge consignment of illicit drugs. We suspected that they were trying to use PNG as a distributing point to supply countries in the region, so at the moment investigations are continuing to establish how and where these drugs were going to be distributed."

Mr Terry says the men were granted bail and will appear in court at a later date.