Man extradited from Queensland as investigations continue into death of diver and discovery of $20 million cocaine

A man will face court today after being extradited from Queensland and charged by Organised Crime Squad detectives as part of ongoing investigations into the death of a diver and discovery of more than $20 million of cocaine earlier this week.

Strike Force Groove was established by Organised Crime Squad detectives after the body of a diver and 54kg of cocaine was located at the Port of Newcastle about 9.30am on Monday (9 May 2022).

The investigation is also being assisted by officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Northern Territory Police (NTPOL) and Queensland Police (QPOL).

Following extensive inquiries, a 62-year-old man was arrested in Cairns on Wednesday (11 May 2022) and charged over his alleged role in the importation of the cocaine.

Strike Force Groove detectives travelled to Queensland, where they applied for and were granted the man’s extradition to NSW at Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday (Friday 13 May 2022).

The man was subsequently escorted by detectives on a flight to Sydney and taken to Mascot Police Station, where he was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and supply prohibited drug more than large commercial quantity.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today (Saturday 14 May 2022).

As investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident continue, police are seeking the identity of a man and woman who they believe may be able to assist with inquiries.

The man is described as being of South American appearance, about 178cm tall and with an athletic build.

The woman is described as being about 150-160cm tall, with a thin build, and has a tanned complexion with blonde / grey hair.

Inquiries under Strike Force Groove are ongoing, which includes offshore inquiries being led by the AFP.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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