Trio charged after 560 kg of cocaine seized in Australia
SYDNEY - Three men have been charged in Australia for their alleged involvement in importing hundreds of kilogrammes of cocaine into the country, authorities said on Friday, reported German news agency (dpa).
Police alleged that the trio were the Australian members of a transnational criminal syndicate that imported the illicit drugs into Western Australia by sea.
An investigation was launched after intelligence was passed to authorities about a suspicious vessel, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.
The men allegedly purchased a boat and collected the cocaine after a bulk carrier vessel dropped it into the ocean off the coast of Western Australia.
A police search at a remote property, about 570 km northwest of Perth, uncovered about 560 kg of cocaine wrapped in plastic, the police said.
"Had the cocaine made it to the streets, it could have been responsible for about 2.8 million individual deals. This would have diverted an estimated AU$224 million (US$144 million) from the legitimate economy."
The men face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted.
Australian Border Force Commander Ranjeev Maharaj said cocaine was being actively intercepted and seized by officers at the border in record quantities.
"Our border is one of our most critical strategic national assets and criminals should know that we will continue to detect, disrupt and dismantle transnational organised crime; criminal elements that seek to test the integrity of Australia's border." - BERNAMA-dpa