A small plane stuffed with $80 million worth of cocaine crashed shortly after take-off en-route to Australia because it was too stuffed to fly.
The drugs were allegedly found packed on the aircraft after it crashed upon takeoff in Papua New Guinea last week, Australian network 9News reported.
Five members of a Melbourne-based crime syndicate were arrested on Monday, shortly after the plane was dispatched from the Aussie state of Queensland to nearby Papua New Guinea to collect the drugs, cops said.
The craft crashed later that day between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. while allegedly attempting to fly 500 kilograms of coke out of a remote air-strip on the island nation.
“The Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleges greed played a significant part in the [crime] syndicate’s activities and cannot rule out that the weight of the cocaine had an impact on the plane’s ability to take off,” a police statement read.
Papua New Guinea authorities discovered the downed Cessna 402C plane empty shortly after the crash. Sniffer dogs identified trace amounts of cocaine at the scene, which led cops to the contraband after a four day search.
The pilot turned himself in to the Australian consulate in Papua New Guinea on Tuesday and was charged with immigration offenses.No one was found in the partially burned wreckage, according to Sky News.
A truck had allegedly been waiting for the plane in Queensland, with plans to transport the drugs south.
The alleged Aussie co-conspirators had been under police surveillance for two years, according to ABC News.
The five men arrested in Australia — ages 31, 31, 33, 33 and 61 — have ties to the Italian mafia, police said. They face life in prison for their role in the alleged scheme.
“These arrests send a clear message that PNG will not tolerate transnational crime syndicates using our nation as a transit point for illicit commodities intended for Australia,” said David Manning, Papua New Guinea’s police chief.
$80 million? We’re sure whoever was awaiting that shipment is PISSED.