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Queensland yacht raid nets near-record 464kg cocaine haul

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  1. Balzafire
    ALMOST half a tonne of cocaine has been seized on a yacht near Brisbane in one of the biggest drug busts in Australian history.

    Three New South Wales men have appeared in Queensland Magistrates Court and were remanded over the haul.

    The seizure followed a tip-off from US authorities, which federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said showed how important "good, working relationships'' with overseas counterparts were to tackle the "transnational challenge'' of crime.

    An estimated 464kg of cocaine - worth about $160 million - was allegedly discovered on the yacht, moored at the Scarborough Marina, about 40km north of Brisbane.

    Australian Federal Police and Customs raided the yacht, which was allegedly delivered the drugs from a "mother ship'' that was sitting 800km off the Queensland coast and is now being towed to Brisbane.

    It is the third-largest seizure of cocaine in Australia and is believed to be have been smuggled from South America.

    The biggest cocaine seizures to occur in Australia include 938kg in Western Australia in 2001 and 502kg in NSW in 2000, a spokeswoman for Mr O'Connor said.

    AFP deputy commissioner Andrew Colvin said two men on board the boat being towed to Brisbane, from Costa Rica and Germany, had been detained.

    The AFP charged three men on Tuesday, two with attempted importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and the other with possession.

    Another 12 search warrants across New South Wales and Queensland, allegedly uncovering a clandestine lab in Eden on the NSW south coast.

    Yesterday, Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and boarded the second vessel of interest about 800km off the Queensland coast.

    "This operation demonstrates that there are no borders and we're keeping watch on every corner,'' Mr Colvin said.

    "Customs and Border Protection has been the AFP's partner in this operation and their expertise has been critical to success.

    “Support from NSW and Queensland Police also shows how effective Australia's law enforcement agencies can be with a collaborative and harmonious approach.”

    Customs and Border Protection deputy CEO of border enforcement Marion Grant said the operation had spanned two states and involved law enforcement activity up to 800km off Australian shores.

    "Our officers persevered through 13-metre seas, constant bad weather and incredibly long days,” Ms Grant said.


    Michael McKenna
    The Australian
    October 14, 2010
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/new...4kg-cocaine-haul/story-e6frg6n6-1225938593097

Comments

  1. buseman
    Drug syndicate smashed, 464kg of cocaine seized

    In a major strike against organised crime, Australian law enforcement agencies have combined to execute one of the country’s largest cocaine seizures.

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, with the support of NSW and Queensland police, have joined forces to seize 464kg of cocaine on Queensland’s southern coast, the third largest cocaine haul in Australian history.

    The AFP charged three men on 12 October, two with attempted importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and the other with possession.

    A search of a yacht docked at Brisbane’s Scarborough Marina yielded the large cocaine haul.

    The AFP has since executed another 12 search warrants across New South Wales and Queensland, uncovering a clandestine lab in Eden, NSW.

    On 13 October, Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted and boarded a second vessel of interest approximately 800km off the Queensland coast.

    This vessel is being towed back to Australia and is subject to an ongoing investigation, therefore no further comment can be made at this stage.

    The cocaine could have potentially earned organised crime figures up more than $160million on Australian streets.

    Coupled with the seizure of 240kg of cocaine in Melbourne in June this year, AFP Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin said there would continue to be a crackdown on organised crime.

    By their very nature, organised crime figures will continue to run the risk of dealing in drugs, but this operation demonstrates that there are no borders and we’re keeping watch on every corner, Deputy Commissioner Colvin said.

    Customs and Border Protection has been the AFP’s partner in this operation and their expertise has been critical to success.

    Support from NSW and Queensland Police also shows how effective Australia’s law enforcement agencies can be with a collaborative and harmonious approach.

    Customs and Border Protection Deputy CEO Border Enforcement, Marion Grant, congratulated the officers on the success of such an extensive joint response.

    This Operation has spanned two states and involved law enforcement activity up to 800km off Australian shores.

    Our officers persevered through 13 metre seas, constant bad weather and incredibly long days, Ms Grant said.

    Their dedication should come as a strong warning to potential importers. No matter the weather, the location or the plan – we are committed to keeping these harmful drugs out of the Australian community, she said.

    The Operation commenced following a referral from the US Drug Enforcement Administration to the AFP.

    This operation would not have been possible without the AFP’s strong international network, Deputy Commissioner Colvin said.

    The AFP’s international relationships are a cornerstone of our work and the information we share can be critical in protecting Australian lives.

    October 14, 2010
    http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/news/afp/2010/october/drug-syndicate-smashed-464kg-of-cocaine-seized.aspx
  2. buseman
    U.S. Tip Leads to $159 Million Cocaine Bust in Australia

    U.S. authorities helped seize up to 1,000 pounds of cocaine transported to Australia from South America, police reported on Thursday. The total amount of the bust totals more than $159 million.

    The drug bust is the third largest in Australia history according to reports.

    The seizure could have slipped by if it wasn't for a tip-off from the U.S.
    Last week, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration revealed to Australian officials that a catamaran loaded with cocaine was headed to it's shores.

    With the information in hand, police sent out a helicopter to locate the vessel. The suspicious catamaran was spotted on Friday with a yacht just 500 miles from Australia.

    Apparently, the hefty load of cocaine was transferred from the catamaran to the other boat at some point.

    The yacht docked at Brisbane's Scarborough Marina, where it was seized on Tuesday. Three Australian men were arrested and two were charged with importation of cocaine, while the other was charged with drug possession.

    http://en.terra.com/latin-in-americ...59_million_cocaine_bust_in_australia/hof12106
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