Australian authorities have joined with international agencies to successfully stop a plan to sail a yacht hiding approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine from South America to Australia, through the Pacific.
Agencies under the Department of Home Affairs, including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), and the Australian Border Force (ABF) worked with the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF), and internationally, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on a complex organised crime investigation, which ended with the seizure of cocaine hidden in a yacht in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on Friday, 28 September.
AFP officers and forensic crime scene investigators were deployed to the Solomon Islands to work alongside RSIPF members to search the yacht and assist with evidence collection efforts.
In addition to the drug seizure, the joint agency investigation also saw two men arrested in Sydney for their alleged roles in facilitating and financing the importation.
It is believed the drugs were loaded on to the yacht in South America, and were en-route to Australia. If these narcotics had made the journey, they would have had an estimated potential street value of between $200-$300 million in Australia.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said the Department of Home Affairs agencies demonstrated flexibility and resourcefulness in working alongside international partners and crippling a criminal syndicate.
“This multinational investigation is an example of the Australian government’s approach to working with our partners to fight against organised crime and drug trafficking, and do so before these harmful substances have the chance to reach Australian shores,” Minister Dutton said.
“Our agencies are strongest when their resources and capabilities are shared to stop threats to our communities, and even more so when they expand this network globally to create a web of law enforcement that will continue to catch these organised crime syndicates.”