The Australian authorities have just made the biggest drug bust in the history of the country. According to reports, law enforcers have sized a total of 1.4 tons of cocaine on a New Zealand yacht off the South Coast.
The police say that the total value of the drug is $312 million. This would be the equivalent to 1.4 million hits to cocaine users, news.com.au reports. According to the Australian Federal Police, before the two crewmen of the yacht, named Elakha yacht, headed for Australia, it apparently received the cocaine from a mother ship in the South Pacific. However, the Navy’s HMAS Bathurst intercepted it just 370 kilometers east of Sydney.
The police found a 63-year-old New Zealander aboard the yacht. They also arrested a 54-year-old Swiss-Fiji citizen. The crewmen faced the Central court today. Other men, aged between 32 and 66, from Sydney have also appeared in court in Nowra on Friday.
Two smaller boats were also supposed to leave the south coast to transfer the cocaine from the yacht. However, this plan did not come to fruition. The bust is actually been carefully planned by the authorities, which included the Australian Border Force, Navy and New Zealand Customs. Their mission is dubbed the Operation Armor, which has been going on for two and a half years.
According to Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, the drug bust was a historic day for the law enforcement in Australia. Keenan said that Australia has been a subject of interest for syndicates because it has a lucrative drug market that is constantly increasing.
“We have busted the largest seizure of cocaine in Australian history,” Keenan stated. “This is a hammer blow for the organized criminals who peddle in drugs.” Apparently, Australia pays a price a lot bigger for cocaine than anywhere else in the world. In comparison, a kilogram of cocaine could be worth around $240,000 in this country but in the US, the same amount would only cost $26,000.
“Our officers based in Brisbane have been doggedly pursuing this matter since 2014,” added the AFP acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan, news.com.au noted. The men aboard the ship as well as the other three arrested were charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a controlled drug. The authorities are still investigating the incident to find out more information. They do not want to give out more details about the mother ship but it has been known that the drugs originated from South America and the men have known each other for decades.