Record cocaine bust on yacht in Australia

Published: 10:51 GMT, Feb 6, 2017 |
A supplied image shows the record haul of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine worth A$312 million ($239.5 million) seized by Australian law enforcement agencies from an Australia-bound yacht last week

Australia has made its largest cocaine haul ever after seizing a yacht carrying 1.4 tonnes of the drug with an estimated street value of Aus$312 million (US$239 million) from an Australia-bound yacht during a covert midnight operation last week, the authorities said on Monday (Feb 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.

Police allege the yacht sailed from New Zealand to a “mothership” in the South Pacific to pick up the drugs last month.

A 63-year-old New Zealand man and a 54-year-old Swiss-Fijian dual national who were aboard the yacht were taken into custody, while four men aged between 32 and 66 were arrested in Sydney.

The haul is the second record-breaking bust in recent weeks, with police dismantling a cocaine ring in December in a joint operation with Tahiti.