Media Release: Drug syndicate smashed, 464kg of cocaine seized

Release Date: Thursday, October 14 2010, 10:29 AM

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.”

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333
Customs and Border Protection Communication and Media (02) 6275 6793


Operation Collage print quality photos (ZIP 3.55MB)