A plane overloaded with 1,100 pounds of cocaine crashed as it tried to take-off from Papua New Guinea destined for Australia.
The incident, which happened Wednesday, July 26, led to the arrest of five men who are believed to have links to the Italian mafia. The men all face a possible maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Australian police said it cannot be ruled out that the weight of the contraband, valued at US$57 million, played a part on the Cessna aircraft crashing as it tried to take off from the remote airstrip.
“With current interstate travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the attempt to import illicit drugs into Australia shows how opportunistic and greedy organised crime can be,” said Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Ian McCartney.