Cocaine bust on yacht largest in Oz historyFebruary 7, 2017
The haul was discovered after officials stopped and searched a boat off the New South Wales coast during a covert midnight operation.”This is the largest cocaine haul ever seized in a single operation in Australia’s history,” said immigration minister Peter Dutton.
The drugs were discovered on a yacht off the New South Wales coast
Six men have been arrested over the find, including a 63-year-old from New Zealand and a Swiss-Fijian dual national, 54, who were on the boat.The other four men, aged between 32 and 66 years, were taken into custody in Sydney.
“We hope that this operation sends a strong message to anyone thinking of smuggling drugs: no matter how innovative or complex their ways are, our evolving detection methods and resources, including at sea, will keep up with them,” said Michael Outram, deputy commissioner of operations at Australian Border Force.
Officers carrying some of the haul
Thursday’s raid – the culmination of a two-year investigation triggered by a tip off from New Zealand customs intelligence – is the second record-breaking drugs bust for Australia in recent weeks.In December, a cocaine ring was dismantled in a joint operation with Tahiti, leading to the seizure of 1.1 tonnes of the drug in Tahiti and Sydney worth hundreds of millions of dollars, all destined for Australia.The street value of cocaine in Australia is up to nine times higher than that of the United States, making the South Pacific island an attractive market for drug dealers.