A BRISBANE woman, who is the owner and director of a logistics company in Papua New Guinea, was charged on Tuesday (16 January) for allegedly facilitating a black flight importing 71.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from PNG to Australia in March last year.

The woman, 41, appeared before Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday (17 January) and was refused bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for 1 March in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

This follows the arrest of six men in Australia and eight people in PNG last March who are alleged to be members of a transnational organised crime syndicate.

The arrests occurred after authorities intercepted the flight when it landed in rural Queensland to re-fuel after travelling from Bulolo, PNG. It is alleged the aircraft, which concealed five duffle bags of methamphetamine, was destined for New South Wales.

Police executed a search warrant on the woman’s Brisbane property in March 2023 after the arrests. Enquiries revealed the methamphetamine had been stored in a commercial premises operated by the woman in PNG prior to the flight.

The AFP will allege the woman, actively facilitated the drug importation. This includes allegedly storing the methamphetamine prior to the importation, buying bags for its transportation, and paying for the fuel and runway in Bulolo used for the black flight.

AFP officers executed a search warrant at the woman’s Rochedale home on 16 January with officers seizing electronic devices and financial records.

The woman was subsequently arrested and charged with drug smuggling charges.

AFP Commander Investigations Eastern Command Kate Ferry said the arrest was a testament to the “diligent and relentless work” of the AFP and its partners.

“Criminals will go to great, and often dangerous, lengths to get drugs into Australia, and this matter is an example of that. This investigation is also an example of how the AFP will continue to pursue organised crime groups no matter what state or country they operate in, or how long it takes,” Commander Ferry said.

Investigations into how the drugs entered PNG remain ongoing.

The AFP-led joint investigation, codenamed Operation Gepard, involved members from NSW Police Force, Queensland Police Services, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.