Authorities seize 700 kilograms cocaine in NSW, worth $280 million

Police are seeking information about the criminal syndicate responsible for a 700-kilogram cocaine importation found hidden on a cargo ship at Sydney’s Port Botany.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers discovered the drugs on 22 July, 2022 during an inspection of shipping containers on the container ship Maersk Inverness, which had docked a day earlier. The haul was found packaged in denim bags inside a shipping container described as containing wood products.

AFP investigators later seized 28 denim bags, each holding about 25kg of cocaine in brick form. Forensic examination of the drugs identified different emblems on the bricks of cocaine, including the numerals ‘5’ and ‘365’ and the word ‘Netflix’.

Preliminary enquiries on the ship have been completed, and the vessel has been allowed to continue its journey.

Anyone with information about this matter is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said the container ship had stopped at ports in Central and South America before making its way to Australia.

“We are still investigating where the drugs were loaded and who was planning to collect them in Australia,” Det-Inspector Luke Wilson said.

“The interception of this amount of drugs would be a significant blow to a well-resourced syndicate, and prevents millions of dollars of drug profit flowing back into the syndicate to fund their lavish lifestyles or next criminal venture.

“The AFP estimates this seizure has saved the community more than $451 million in drug-related harm, including associated crime, healthcare and loss of productivity.”

ABF Detained Goods NSW Superintendent Joanne Yeats outlined the ABF’s role in disrupting the criminal network’s supply of drugs into our community

“This seizure demonstrates the technical expertise of our dedicated ABF officers who made the initial detection and stopped this large shipment of cocaine from entering our community,” Superintendent Yeats said.

“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the Australian community is kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs.”

Purchasers on Australia’s east coast can pay up to $400,000 for a kilogram of cocaine depending on availability and purity, with this amount of cocaine representing at least $280 million dollars.

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