Police seize massive cocaine shipment

It’s the fifth largest seizure of cocaine in Australian history.


Customs stopped two shipping containers of stone pavers from Mexico for inspection at the Port Melbourne Cargo Examination Facility on June 14.

More than 200kg of cocaine was allegedly concealed within some of the pavers.

As part of a joint force police operation, the cocaine was replaced with an inert substance.

It was then delivered to a warehouse in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin, where police allege it was sorted, with the pavers containing drugs separated from the legitimate pavers.

The shipment was then allegedly moved to Sydney, where it was delivered to a home in Baulkham Hills on July 3.

The following day police arrested a 25-year-old Mexican after he allegedly sorted and transported the pavers from Victoria.

Two Australian men, aged 24 and 25, were arrested in Mascot three days later as they allegedly tried to take receipt of 30kg of the cocaine shipment.

A 30-year-old American was later charged with attempting to facilitate the distribution of the drug.

Director of the NSW State Crime Commands Organised Crime Directorate, Detective Chief Superintendent Ken McKay, on Tuesday said the operation involved NSW police, Australian Federal Police (AFP), Customs and Border Protection Service.

“This operation has been a major undertaking by all three agencies and has utilised the expertise of police from across states and federal jurisdictions,” he said.

“Police have effectively disrupted what is a large organised crime syndicate and prevented $84 million worth of cocaine reaching our streets.”

Customs and Border Protection NSW regional director, Andrew Asking, thanked all those who “worked tirelessly” on the operation.

“Their dedication and hard work has kept this harmful substance from entering the Australian community,” he said.

The American has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and conspiracy to supply a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

The Mexican was charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

The two Australians have each been charged with an attempt to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

The alleged offenders have been refused bail and will reappear at various dates over the next two months, police said.