Undercover narcotics team seizes drugs, illegal guns in PNG hotel

The hotel room lab raided by PNG police
The Sanctuary Hotel room in Port Moresby where police allegedly found the meth lab and firearms. Image: Loop PNG

By Marjorie Finkeo in Port Moresby

An inter-agency team working with Australian and American investigators has busted a drug laboratory operating in a Papua New Guinean hotel last week — but this could all be for nothing.

Papua New Guinea does not have the appropriate laws to prosecute offenders involved in such dangerous drugs, a senior police officer said.

The cache was seized in Sanctuary Hotel in the capital Port Moresby’s suburb Waigani.

Head of the illicit and narcotic investigation team, Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Special Operations Donald Yamasombi, said PNG Police and PNG Customs had worked with the Australian Federal Police and United States Department of Homeland Security in an operation dubbed Saki Bomb.

The team tracked an illegal consignment from the United States onboard a cargo vessel all the way to PNG, resulting in the arrest last week of the hotel’s group operations manager Jamie Pang, 43.

Yamasombi said police had executed a search warrant on November 16 and raided the Sanctuary Hotel at Waigani and found a mini clandestine laboratory to produce methamphetamine, a highly dangerous recreational drug sometimes referred to as ice, or meth.

He said the clandestine laboratory was found inside a hotel room adjacent to Pang’s room.

High powered guns
Police also discovered and seized high powered guns and live ammunition of different calibres.

“History in the making for constabulary to see a laboratory where we got them in the process of producing meth,” Yamasombi said.

Pang was charged with four counts of possession of firearms without licences, five counts of possession of live ammunition and two counts of possession of firearm ­­– a total of 11 charges, for which he pleaded guilty last Friday at Boroko District Court.

“Unfortunately we cannot charge him with methamphetamine because there is no legislation,” Yamasombi said.

“For us it is a slap in the face though we have evidence and substances to prove this.

“But a good result of the operation is that he had pleaded guilty and we are now waiting to see court decision in court this week.”

He said investigations were continuing.

Marjorie Finkeo is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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