Federal Police Crack Record $312 Million Cocaine Bust

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers have charged six people over a big cocaine haul discovered when authorities intercepted a yacht off the New South Wales coast.

"The interception was the result of a dogged, two and a half year, multi-agency pursuit involving the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and New Zealand Customs Service", the ministers said in the statement. The two crew members aboard - aged 63 and 54 - were arrested when the ship was brought to Sydney on Sunday.

This amount of cocaine has a street value of approximately $312 million, though further forensic testing will be conducted to determine exact weight and purity.

Police arrested a fourth man, Yahay Majdalawi, 32, in Sydney on Friday who is also alleged to be involved in the conspiracy to import the cocaine.

The crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Hamish Thompson is arrested by police after they allegedly seized 1.4 tonnes of cocaine from the yacht Elakha
Australian Federal Police Hamish Thompson is arrested by police after they allegedly seized 1.4 tonnes of cocaine from the yacht Elakha

"We are seizing more drugs than ever before... we are arresting more people than ever before and we are making sure that those that think they can target Australia, those that think they can target our illicit drug market, will be prosecuted", he said.

The AFP's deputy commissioner operations Michael Outram said police hoped the operation's success would send "a strong message" to anyone thinking of smuggling drugs.

More details about New Zealand Custom's involvement in the operation will be revealed at a press conference in Auckland this afternoon. "Our partnerships enable us to act as one and our sophisticated intelligence capabilities and commitment prevent drugs reaching our communities", said Mr Bamford.

The men were charged with importing about 186kg of cocaine that was seized from a 50-metre former commercial vessel in December a year ago.

After the Elakha set sail on 2 February, it was intercepted by Australian border officials just after midnight.



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