Pubdate: Tue, 16 Oct 2007
Source: National, The (New Guinea)
Copyright: 2007 The National
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


POLICE are stepping up enforcement activities against drug 
trafficking, which usually increases at year-end.

People in the rural areas harvest more marijuana to sell during this 
period to raise money for festivities and to pay for next year's 
expenses, including school fees.

There is also a higher incidence of drug-related crime.

Over the weekend, police reservists in Rabaul raided a village and 
confiscated 4kg of marijuana packed in two big parcels.

The drug was estimated to be worth more than K50,000 on the streets.

Two suspects were detained and are expected to be brought before the 
court this week.

Const Barnie Masatt said some people at Rabuana village in Kabiu were 
fed up with the drug activities and tipped off the police.

He said the drug was allegedly brought by sea transport all the way 
from Goroka in Eastern Highlands province.

He said the two suspects should consider themselves lucky. "In 
Indonesia, the penalty for drug possession is death or life 
imprisonment," he said.

Police in Goroka also seized 3.4kg of marijuana bound for Tabubil and 
Daru in Western province over the weekend.

The marijuana was wrapped in a few bundles and sealed in a box to be 
sent to some individuals.

Each bundle had a name written on it.

Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Supt Philip Solala said 
investigations showed that the box was to be sent as cargo on a 
chartered flight from Goroka to Tabubil on Saturday.

Drug dealers, however, realised that the police had got wind of it 
and tried to send the box via Post PNG instead.

When Post PNG officers started opening the box to check its contents, 
the sender fled.

Supt Solala said the drug trade was lucrative and prominent 
individuals were also heavily involved.

He said the penalties were relatively lenient which had led to an 
increase in drug trafficking.

"There is a need to revisit the laws and increase the penalties to 
minimise the problem," he said.

Supt Solala said police were keeping a close eye on places like Lihir 
Gold mine New Ireland Province, Rabaul E.N.B.P, Vanimo Sandaun, Buka, 
Madang and Lae.

He appealed to leaders to help the police fight drug trafficking. 
"Our young men are now getting mentally retarded because of heavy use 
of marijuana," he said.

At Kimbe, police destroyed about 176kg of marijuana worth more than K700,000.

Police said the drug was confiscated from ship passengers arriving in 
Kimbe from Lae and people in the province since January this year.

They said most of the 189 people arrested had been convicted and give 
jail sentences ranging from three months to two years.

They said police in the Highlands and Lae should conduct more checks.

Meanwhile, two young men from Buluma in the Hoskins area - David 
Araga, 28, and James Kimbu, 30 - were jailed for 12 months each by 
the Kimbe District Court for having 3.6kg of marijuana. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake