Two Aussies ar­rested in $ 300m co­caine yacht sting

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

AN AL­LEGED “Mr Big” of the drug trade, who has been liv­ing in Syd­ney’s north shore, has been ar­rested over a 500kg ship­ment of co­caine.

Po­lice ar­rested Zhen Tao Qi, 41, on Thurs­day in Wahroonga. He was charged over a half tonne ship­ment of co­caine worth be­tween $200-$300 mil­lion that was al­legedly des­tined for the east coast of Aus­tralia be­fore it was seized in the Solomon Is­lands.

Qi was ar­rested at his home on West­brook Ave by Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice of­fi­cers and has been charged with be­ing a key fa­cil­i­ta­tor in or­gan­is­ing and fi­nanc­ing the drug ship­ment.

Bon­nyrigg Heights man Zheng Zhao, 39, was also charged with trans­fer­ring the money to fund the drug oper­a­tion in the lengthy in­ves­tiga- tion, which landed the blow af­ter co­op­er­a­tion from over­seas polic­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion in the US.

As the ar­rests were hap­pen­ing, po­lice also raided a Bel­gian-reg­is­tered yacht, known as Vieux Malin, at a moor­ing out­side the Ho­niara ma­rina in the Solomon Is­lands.

AFP De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Ben McQuil­lan said the drugs were found in the boat’s hull and were hid­den in a “com­plex and pro­fes­sion­ally con­structed” man­ner.

Po­lice be­lieve the co­caine had been loaded in South Amer­ica and it was to meet up with a do­mes­ti­cally reg­is­tered boat off the Aus­tralian coast where the drugs would be trans­ferred and taken to the main­land.

Mr McQuil­lan said more ar­rests were ex­pected.

The seized drugs.

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