Oz po­lice find US$12.6 mil. co­caine haul on yacht

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Aus­tralian po­lice said Tues­day 70 kilo­grams of co­caine worth US$12.6 mil­lion has been seized from a yacht, as they crack down on syn­di­cates traf­fick­ing drugs through the South Pa­cific.

Five peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Bri­ton and an Estonian, were ar­rested and re­manded in cus­tody over the haul, be­lieved to be one of the largest co­caine seizures in Queens­land state history, Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice said.

“We be­lieve this op­er­a­tion has dis­rupted and caused sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to a num­ber of or­ga­nized crim­i­nal en­ter­prises that are seek­ing to profit from the high prices and de­mand for illegal nar­cotics in Aus­tralia,” said Fed­eral Po­lice or­ga­nized crime com­man­der David Stewart.

Po­lice said they were tipped off about a pos­si­ble drug ship­ment by the Bri­tish Na­tional Crime Agency, which sug­gested a yacht was mak­ing its way to Aus­tralia from South Amer­ica.

Author­i­ties mon­i­tored the ves­sel as it sailed from the Pa­cific state of Van­u­atu and ar­rived at Queens­land’s pop­u­lar Gold Coast tourist strip on Mon­day.

Po­lice al­leged that on ar­rival the yacht’s only oc­cu­pant, a 43-year-old Estonian, met a 58-year-old Bri­ton and the pair pur­chased tools to re­move the drugs that were hid­den in­side the body of the ves­sel.

They were ar­rested, along with three other men they met, on Mon­day af­ter­noon with some 40 kilo­grams of co­caine in their pos­ses­sion, po­lice al­leged.

A fur­ther 30 kilo­grams of the drug was later found con­cealed within the yacht, po­lice said, with the to­tal consignment worth about AU$17.5 mil­lion (US$12.6 mil­lion).

The Estonian and the Bri­ton were charged with im­port­ing a com­mer­cial quan­tity of co­caine and the other three, aged 29, 59 and 67, with at­tempt­ing to pos­sess a com­mer­cial quan­tity of the drug.

All were re­manded in cus­tody. The max­i­mum penalty for each of­fense is life im­pris­on­ment and/or a AU$825,000 fine.

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