Australia seizes record 1.4 tonne of cocaine on yacht

Australia seizes record 1.4 tonne of cocaine worth A$312 million ($239.5 million) from an Australia-bound yacht.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (FEBRUARY 5, 2017) (AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE) – Australian law enforcement agencies seized a record 1.4 tonnes of cocaine worth A$312 million ($239.5 million) from an Australia-bound yacht during a covert midnight operation last week, the authorities said on Monday (February 6).

Six men, including five Australians, have been charged with conspiracy to import drugs and could face life imprisonment, Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in a joint statement.

This is the largest cocaine haul ever seized in a single operation in Australia and is over 400 kgs (880 pounds) greater than the previous record of 938 kgs (2,06 pounds) in Western Australia state in 2001, they said.

Keenan telling a press conference why smuggling drugs to Australia is an attractive market for criminals.

“Now the Australian drug market continues to be highly lucrative for people who peddle in the misery of drugs. We pay an enormous price, more than any equivalent market in the world, and just to give you some idea , a kilogram of cocaine in the United States would be worth 26,000 Australian dollars, here it can sell for up to 240,000 Australian dollars. So you can see why this acts as honey pot effect for organised criminal from all around the world,” he said.

“The interception was the result of a dogged, two and a half year, multi-agency pursuit involving the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and New Zealand Customs Service,” the ministers said in the statement.

The cocaine could have resulted in 1.4 million street deals, they added, without providing details of the latest seizure.