Two Aussies arrested in $ 300m cocaine yacht sting
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.