A light Cessna aircraft overloaded with cocaine crashed on take-off on its way to Australia, CNN reported on Saturday, quoting police.
According to the channel, the plane went down during take-off in Papua New Guinea on 26 July.
The crash exposed a Melbourne-based crime syndicate and resulted in the arrest of five men who allegedly had links to the Italian mafia, the report says. They have been charged with plotting to import over 500 kilos of cocaine, as well with other related offences.
The detainees are facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, if found guilty. The pilot surrendered himself to police a couple of days after the accident and was arrested, too.
The total street-value of the cocaine was estimated at about 80 million Australian dollars ($57M USD), authorities said.