Two people have today been sentenced to 17 years’ jail each in relation to Australia’s biggest ever cocaine seizure.
The record 1.89-tonne seizure is the largest in the country’s history and would have had a potential street value of approximately $1.3-billion.
A joint Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and NSW Police Force investigation led authorities to intercept a drug-filled vessel off the NSW coast near Newcastle in August 2020.
The three crew members – a Hong Kong man then aged 40 and two Australian men then aged 27 and 32 – were arrested and charged with drug importation offences.
Both accused men had pleaded guilty to charges
The two Australian men appeared at the Downing Centre District Court today, where they were each sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 10 years.
On 16 October, the men pleaded guilty to attempting to import a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, namely cocaine.
The vessel used to transport the consignment was seized by the AFP and has since been sold as a Commonwealth forfeited asset.
Acting Commander Matthew Ciantar said the AFP worked closely with our partner agencies to stop dangerous drugs from reaching Australia.
“Australians consume around 4.6 tonnes of cocaine annually and this can have a devastating impact on our society,” he stated.
Seizure an example of agencies working together
“Our investigators are working night and day to ensure we intercept these dangerous drugs before they cause devastation to the lives of vulnerable Australians.”
ABF Commander Port Operations East, Susan Drennan, said this seizure was a great example of Australian law enforcement agencies working together.
“This seizure of cocaine – the largest in Australian history – has not only stopped millions of street deals, but also prevented more than a billion dollars entering the pockets of organised criminals” she said.
“The work of the ABF and our partner agencies has again protected the Australian community from enormous harm.”