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700-kg cocaine stash seized on Maersk ship

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Source: Freight News

Australian police are seeking information about a criminal syndicate responsible for a 700-kilogram cocaine stash that was found hidden on a cargo ship at Sydney's Port Botany.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers found the drugs on July 22 during an inspection of shipping containers on the container ship Maersk Inverness, which had docked a day earlier. The haul was found packaged in denim bags inside a shipping container described as containing wood products.

AFP investigators later seized 28 denim bags, each holding about 25kg of cocaine in brick form. Forensic examination of the drugs identified different emblems on the bricks of cocaine, including the numerals '5' and '365' and the word 'Netflix'.

AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said the container ship had stopped at ports in Central and South America before making its way to Australia.

“We are still investigating where the drugs were loaded and who was planning to collect them in Australia," Wilson said.

“The interception of this amount of drugs would be a significant blow to a well-resourced syndicate and prevents millions of dollars of drug profit flowing back into the syndicate to fund their lavish lifestyles or next criminal venture. The AFP estimates this seizure has saved the community more than $451 million (AUD) in drug-related harm, including associated crime, healthcare, and loss of productivity."

ABF Detained Goods NSW Superintendent Joanne Yeats outlined the ABF's role in disrupting the criminal network's supply of drugs.

“This seizure demonstrates the technical expertise of our dedicated ABF officers who made the initial detection and stopped this large shipment of cocaine from entering our community," Yeats said.

“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the Australian community is kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs."

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