Media Release: 200kgs of cocaine seized in Pacific waters
Release Date: Wednesday, April 04 2012, 12:40 PM
This is a joint media release between the AFP and Customs and Border Protection
Australian, New Caledonian and United States authorities have disrupted an international cocaine syndicate attempting to import an estimated 200 kilograms of cocaine into Australia from South America.
The joint operation began in March this year when the Australian Federal Police (AFP) was provided intelligence by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) relating to a vessel suspected of carrying a large quantity of cocaine.
The vessel was en route to Australia after departing from South America, but its exact location was unknown.
The AFP and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service launched Operation Saba and subsequently located the vessel in waters north west of New Caledonia.
The AFP’s International Liaison Network contacted New Caledonian authorities who boarded the vessel on Saturday, 31 March 2012 and located the illicit drugs.
New Caledonian authorities seized approximately 200kgs of cocaine and have charged three people with a range of offences.
New Caledonian authorities will conduct further forensic testing to determine the exact weight and purity of the cargo.
AFP National Manager Serious and Organised Crime Kevin Zuccato said today this significant seizure was an outstanding result for the AFP and its international law enforcement partners.
“This demonstrates that geography is not an impediment to the AFP regarding our ability to disrupt the flow of narcotics into Australia,” Assistant Commissioner Zuccato said.
“This investigation clearly demonstrates that the AFP’s relationships with both national and international law enforcement, through our International Liaison Network, are stronger than ever and people seeking to bring narcotics into Australia need to sit up and take note.
“Australian authorities can, and will continue to combat the movement of illicit drugs across international borders.”
Customs and Border Protection Deputy CEO Border Management Marion Grant applauded the joint operation.
“These are the results that can be achieved when our law enforcement agencies work together and use strong intelligence to target criminals,” Deputy CEO Grant said.
“Following on from the recent seizure of 300kg of cocaine, in Bundaberg in November 2011, this seizure highlights that we act to stop drugs at and beyond our borders.”
Investigations remain ongoing in Australia and internationally.
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333
Customs and Border Protection Media (02) 6275 6793
Note for media:
Enquiries relating to the overseas arrests should be directed to New Caledonian authorities.