UPDATE @ 10.00am: About $360 Million worth of cocaine has been seized in NSW and Tahiti, in what police have described as the biggest cocaine bust in Australian history.
The international multi-agency operation, which ran for more than two-and-a-half years, resulted in the seizure of approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine in New South Wales and more than 600 kilograms of cocaine in Tahiti which was destined for Australia.
The 15 men allegedly involved have been charged with serious drug importation offences after being arrested following raids over Christmas.
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The men range in age from 29 to 63 years, and have all been refused bail.
500kg of cocaine seized in the Christmas Day raid nth of Syd under guard at press conference. 2 high profile identities among 15 men charged pic.twitter.com/Uy3NcZYSTG
— Ben Avery (@benavery9) December 28, 2016
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan, National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, said the activity conducted in the past week was the culmination of a complex investigation which crossed domestic and international borders.
“This has been a long-running joint investigation, and I want to thank our people and our partners for their tenacity and dedication,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Sheehan said.
“We’ve stopped around a tonne of cocaine and a commercial quantity of heroin reaching the Australian community. Additionally, we’ve prevented future importations by apprehending 15 men for their alleged involvement in the criminal syndicate responsible for this attempted importation.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs is life imprisonment.
EARLIER @5.45am: About $360 Million worth of cocaine has been seized by police in operations in New South Wales and Tahiti.
Fifteen men have been arrested following raids over Christmas, linked to a two-and-a-half year investigation.
Police will allege the group used a fishing trawler based at the Sydney Fish Market to import 500 kilograms of the drug from Tahiti.
The men allegedly involved have been charged with serious drug importation offences.
They range in age from 29 to 63 years, and have all been refused bail.
Police are due to address the media on this matter this morning.