Sydney man arrested over 190kg New Zealand cocaine seizure

190kg cocaine seaized in New Zealand

A 41-year-old Alford’s Point man has been arrested in Australia and approximately 190 kilograms of cocaine seized in New Zealand following a joint international operation involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP), New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs.

An investigation into an Australian-based organised crime group identified a potential shipment of illicit drugs that left Balboa, Panama, on Saturday, 4 August 2018. On Monday, 20 August 2018, a container listed as a shipment of bananas arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on a vessel from Balboa, Panama.

New Zealand Customs and New Zealand Police examined the container and located five large duffle bags containing approximately 190 kilograms of cocaine, making it the largest cocaine seizure of the drug at the New Zealand border. Further forensic testing will determine the exact weight and purity of the cocaine.

The cocaine was replaced with an inert substance and Australian and New Zealand agencies began a controlled delivery after it was identified the drugs were destined for distribution in Australia.

On Wednesday, 14 November 2018, AFP officers conducted search warrants in the Sydney suburbs of Alford’s Point and Wiley Park. The 41-year-old man was later arrested in the Sydney CBD this morning (Thursday, 15 November 2018) after surrendering to police.

Police will allege in court the man was attempting to take possession of approximately 57 kilograms of the substituted cocaine. Further enquiries are ongoing into the source of the illicit drugs and other potential recipients in Australia.

The man appeared before Sydney Central Local Court yesterday, was scheduled to reappear on Wednesday, 16 January 2019.

AFP acting Commander Kirsty Schofield, State Manager NSW, said the success of this investigation is another example of the AFP using its partnerships to combat international drug syndicates attempting to bring harmful substances into our communities.

“We will continue to work closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to combat transnational crime and bring charges against those in this evil trade. This investigation demonstrates the power of intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation in striking at the heart of globally-connected criminal syndicates impacting Australia.”

The man was charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

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