The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have seized over 400kg of cocaine in South Australia with the drug bust going on the record as the biggest haul ever confiscated.
According to authorities the street value is estimated at $166 million with four Filipino foreigners charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of drugs. The men were crew of an international bulk shipping carrier who the police believe offloaded the drugs in South Australian waters earlier in March.
Police seized the cocaine off the Yorke Peninsula with the men expected to appear in an Adelaide court sometime today. AFP Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said in a press release that he hopes this seizure will help criminals to realise that police are serious about tackling illicit drugs within Australia.
“While the alleged cocaine importation is the largest ever detected by law enforcement in South Australia, it is most certain the drugs would have been trafficked to other Australian states,’’ he said.
“We are sending a strong and clear message today to organised crime, we will not stop, we are coming after you.”
This video from the AFP shows just some of the cocaine that was seized.
Australian Border Force Acting Chief Superintendent Alex Kelsall noted that locating these drugs was like finding “a needle in a haystack”. It took approximately four days for authorities to find the cocaine which was a “substantial distance off the coast”.
While SA has seen a new state record for biggest drug bust, the largest cocaine seizure in Australian history came in 2017 when four men were charged with the attempted importation of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine with the estimated street value set at $300 million. Two of the men were sentenced to life imprisonment while the other two were sentenced to 16 years in jail.
The AFP have stated that while the SA drug bust is estimated at 400kg and worth $166 million that these numbers may change as further testing is conducted. If found guilty the men could face life imprisonment.