Drugs 'Made in PNG'

AUTHORITIES have confirmed the presence and production of pleasure drug methamphetamine or ice in Papua New Guinea.
Highly placed sources within national security agencies including the Royal PNG Constabulary told the Post-Courier that they are investigating reports that a factory is located in a Port Moresby residence and is run by Asians with the assistance of Papua New Guineans.
The revelation followed last week’s arrest of 40-year-old Papua New Guinean Mary Yawari at the Cairns Airport after Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Officers discovered four kilograms of the drug in her luggage upon her arrival from PNG. The woman is in Australian police custody and will appear in court on December 12. She faces life imprisonment or a $A1.275 million fine. Australian authorities estimated that the drug haul had a street value of $A2 million.
In separate interviews with this newspaper, national security officials said there was a PNG-based Asian syndicate producing the methamphetamine for consumption by elite Papua New Guineans as well as the country’s growing expatriate community. 
The same group are also allegedly behind a prostitution racket involving Asian women. 
The growing of the PNG economy and the impact of globalisation was also making the country attractive to foreigners seeking employment and business opportunities, consequently creating a local market for illicit drugs, prostitution and gun smuggling. 
According to the police and intelligence gathering officials, high ranking Papua New Guineans were involved in the distribution and consumption of methamphetamine.
“The issue is very sensitive as it also involves high ranking PNG elites. This drug is already on the market in PNG,” one of the officials said.
Former Defence Force commander and PNG Flag Officers League secretary general, General Jerry Singirok (retired), told this newspaper last night that he was not surprised with reports that methamphetamine was being produced locally.
He said “lip service” by the current and previous governments decapitated the ability of the RPNGC, the PNGDF, the National Intelligence Organisation (NIO) and PNG Customs to respond effectively to national security threats.
“We have no mechanisms to check our imports of goods and our border security, border security is nonexistent and therefore we will expect an increase (in illegal activities). And it will only stop when the government wakes up to itself to enforce border security and to prevent transnational crime by supporting all line agencies in a coordinated approach to address this particular issue,” he said. 
General Singirok appealed to the government to give more funding and resources to the key security agencies.
An Australian government drug campaign against methamphetamine lists its dangers amongst others paranoia, stroke, addiction, chronic sleep problems, memory loss, blood-borne infections, anorexia, malnutrition and heart and lung problems.

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