Drugs intercepted on the way Down Under, more than two tonnes of cocaine

An international drug ring has been busted in a joint US and Australian law enforcement operation when they intercepted a vessel off the coast of South America. The boat was carrying 2.4 tonnes of cocaine and was on its way to Australia—with half of Australia’s estimated annual consumption aboard.

The cocaine has a street value of around A$1 billion or €640 million, the biggest haul for Australian police in history. It is linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

In “Operation Beech”, Western Australian police substituted the cargo with packed fake cocaine and dropped it roughly 40 nautical miles west of Peth on December 28.

Three suspected members of the “Australian arm of a drug syndicate” with 1.2 tonnes of fake cocaine were arrested on December 30, after allegedly making three trips out through rough seas to collect the packages.

A further nine arrests were made through mid-January 13, including a traffic stop on the Great Eastern Highway, roughly 600 kilometres east of Perth, where police found more than A$2 million in cash.

Western Australia police commissioner Col Blanch in a statement: “The operation sends a message to international drug traffickers that your deadly drugs are not welcome here.”

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