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Old 17th Jun 2021, 00:48
  #210 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Aus
Posts: 742
From the Telegraph.

True Crime AustraliaPolice & Courts NSW

Drug cartels using Australian ‘black flights’ to bring in cocaine Rogue pilots are flying into unmanned airstrips to bring drugs into Australia, before leaving again loaded with cash, a former border force boss has revealed.

Rogue pilots are flying plane loads of cocaine into Australia on “black flights”, landing undetected on remote airstrips before leaving again loaded with cash.

“Unmanned airstrips are certainly used by drug cartels to bring in drugs,’’ said former ABF boss Roman Quaedvlieg.

“Also there are coastal airstrips which are unresourced and the importers will run the gauntlet, so to speak, knowing that authorities are not as well staffed as bigger airports and believe they can escape detection.”

Sources some of the flights do register as legitimate arrivals on paper, with a low risk to avoid scrutiny.

Planes are known to be modified with extra fuel tanks so they can island-hop from overseas source countries.

Mr Quaedvlieg said the ABF had sophisticated flight trackers deployed around the country but said crews which landed at isolated airstrips knew they could unload the contraband before authorities arrive.

He said there could be no denying Australia received “absolute black flights’’ which logged no paperwork and flew low to avoid radar systems.

In July last year a Cessna twin engine plane crashed near Port Moresby carrying 500kg of cocaine with an Australian pilot who died in the accident.

Both Papua New Guinea and Australian Federal Police believe the plane took off from north Queensland on July 26 and flew at only 3000 feet above the ground to avoid being picked up by radar.

The flight collected the drugs but the plane crashed on it’s return journey.

“The extent of these types of importations is unknown, but this incident tells you it is happening, and it’s naive to think we are on top of it,’’ Mr Quaedvlieg said.

The practise has been going on for years with NSW Police tracking a former CIA plane in 2014 from the US which island hopped across the Pacific before landing in Port Headland where it lodged its arrival with customs. It then crisscrossed the country, arriving empty at Albion Park.

Sniffer dogs and detectors established later there had been a large amount of drugs transported in the plane at some time.

Evidence given in a trial of a member of the Sinola Mexcian drug cartel in the US heard Australian pilots were offered huge money to run cocaine flights in and out of the country.

“Individual A advised that his/her associates were moving millions of dollars per month from Australia to the United States, and that the money was being used to purchase cocaine to be sold in Australia,’’ special agent for the DEA Christopher O’Reilly detailed in a court case against Jose Mares-Barragan in 2013.

“In prior meetings between CS1 and Individual A, CS1 had pretended to be a pilot,” he said.

“Individual A asked CS1 whether he/she was interested in moving millions of dollars from Australia to the United States.”
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