Police make $280m cargo ship cocaine bust
Authorities are hunting for a criminal syndicate after seizing 700 kilograms of cocaine worth $280 million from a cargo ship at Sydney’s Port Botany.
Police are asking the public for help in busting a criminal syndicate behind the importation via cargo ship of 700 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $280 million.
Australian Border Force officers found the drugs on July 22 while inspecting containers on the vessel Maersk Inverness at Port Botany in Sydney.
Federal police seized 28 denim bags, each holding about 25 kilograms of cocaine in brick form, the AFP and ABF said in a statement on Saturday.
Forensic examination identified different emblems on the bricks, including the numerals 5 and 365 and the word Netflix, the agencies said.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said the ship, which has been allowed to continue its journey, had stopped at ports in Central America and South America before making its way to Australia.
Insp Wilson said the interception of the drugs would be a significant blow to what was likely a well-resourced criminal syndicate.
“We are still investigating where the drugs were loaded and who was planning to collect them in Australia,” he said.
“The AFP estimates this seizure has saved the community more than $451 million in drug-related harm.”
ABF Detained Goods NSW Superintendent Joanne Yeats said the seizure showed the technical expertise of officers who detected the cocaine.
She said the agency had disrupted the criminal network’s supply and “stopped this large shipment of cocaine from entering our community”.