Over 200 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a cargo ship’s hull has been confiscated by authorities in Melbourne.
The cocaine worth $80 million was found after officers of the Australian Border Force deployed a remotely operated underwater vehicle to search the ship when it was berthed in the Melbourne Port the previous month.
The cocaine was found in a suspicious hull attachment in the vessel’s sea chest with pipes for pumping seawater. Divers from Victoria Police came to retrieve the packages of the drug.
The vessel arrived in Melbourne from Argentina via New Zealand and then continued to sail towards Western and South Australia.
AFP Commander Richard Chin said authorities are trying to find those behind the drug import.
“The focus of our ongoing investigation remains on identifying and locating the transnational serious organised crime groups responsible for this attempted import and the people working for them in Australia to receive and distribute these drugs,” he said.
Commander of the Australian Border Force, Clinton Sims, said that Australia is being targeted by organised criminal groups that seek to move illegal drugs through its border through commercial ships.
He mentioned that these remotely operated vehicles have greatly enhanced their ability to perform mass screening of ships’ hulls and void spaces, helping detect the illegal drugs hidden below the vessel.
Commander Chin said this method of hiding drugs is not new, and this case is an example that the authorities are one step ahead of the criminals trying to bring illicit drugs into their communities.
“We have prevented 200kg of cocaine from reaching our streets, and in doing so, we have prevented approximately 1 million street deals and the significant harm to our society that flows as a result,” he added.
References: abc.net, 9news.com
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