Police have released photos of a staggering 700kg shipment of cocaine found hidden on a cargo ship docked in Sydney’s Port Botany.
On July 22, Australian Border Force officers discovered an estimated $280 million worth of cocaine hidden in jean pockets in a shipping container marked as timber products.
Officers seized 28 bags, each containing about 25kg of cocaine, packed in compact bricks.
Authorities say forensic examination of the cocaine bricks revealed they were marked with emblems, including numerals like 365 and the word “Netflix”.
The cargo ship was allowed to continue its voyage after officials conducted preliminary investigations.
Australian Federal Police Inspector Luke Wilson said it called at ports in Central and South America before arriving in Australia.
“We are still investigating where the drugs were loaded and who planned to pick them up in Australia,” he said.
“Intercepting this amount of drugs would be a major blow to a well-resourced syndicate and prevents millions of dollars in drug profits from flowing back into the syndicate to fund their lavish lifestyle or their next criminal venture.”
According to AFP, the massive cocaine seizure prevented more than $451 million in drug-related damages, including related crime, lost productivity and health care expenses.
Australian Border Force Detained Goods NSW Superintendent Joanne Yeats said the massive transport showed border officials’ expertise in uncovering illicit shipments of drugs.
“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the Australian community is protected from the importation of dangerous drugs,” she said.
AFP notes that 1kg of cocaine on the east coast of Australia can fetch up to $400,000, depending on the drug’s availability and purity.
The seizure comes as Australia is in the midst of a cocaine shortage, meaning the wholesale price of 1kg of cocaine is now at least $130,000 more expensive than before the pandemic.
Police say nationwide demand for the illicit drug remains high and the rising number of people using the drug is worrying.
Originally posted when police released photos of a $280 million cocaine bust seized from a cargo ship