An Australia-bound plane carrying $80 million worth of cocaine crashed upon take off in Papua New Guinea because it was weighed down by the drug, according to reports.
A Cessna aircraft carrying an abundance of the expensive cargo took off from a remote runway in Papa Lea Lea July 26 and planned to ascend to about 3,000 feet to avoid radar detection, but the plane crashed moments after takeoff due to the weight inside, Australian Federal Police said.
Authorities recovered the plane and arrested those on board. Five days later, the drugs allegedly onboard were found by drug sniffing dogs where they discovered 28 bags of cocaine.
"We are not a banana republic where anyone can pick up a plane and just come into PNG unannounced," Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said in a statement. "We will have no place for those who think they could peddle drugs in this country."
The Australian Federal Police, who worked with Queensland and Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, have charged five men of an Australian crime syndicate for trying to traffic and import the drugs. All of the suspects face life imprisonment if found guilty.
Authorities say that the amount they were trying to traffic could have resulted in 500,000 street transactions.