Three men have been arrested and charged after allegedly trying to import 20 kilograms of cocaine into Sydney on a cruise ship.Two 49-year-old men and one 61-year-old, all Americans, were arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine.
In a separate incident on the same day, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers made the second cocaine seizure at Sydney International Airport in a week when they arrested a 34-year-old Brazilian woman. She has been charged with importing up to six kilograms of cocaine in luggage.
Three men arrested for cocaine importation on cruise ship
The men on the cruise ship were caught in a joint operation conducted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), US Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and New Zealand Customs Service.
Acting on intelligence provided by DEA and HSI, ABF officers boarded the vessel (not named by the AFP) at sea and searched the cabins. Additional ABF and AFP officers including an AFP forensics team boarded the vessel when it anchored in Sydney on Friday 6 November 2015.
The cocaine will be subject to further forensic analysis to determine exact weight and purity.
AFP Acting National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber David Stewart said the operation stressed the importance of ongoing collaboration with partner agencies.
Following the airport seizure, meanwhile, a 34-year-old Brazilian woman has appeared in Sydney Magistrates Court charged with importing up to six kilograms of cocaine in luggage.
The detection by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers is the second cocaine seizure at Sydney International Airport in a week.
The Brazilian woman was stopped and questioned by officers when she arrived on a flight from Hong Kong on Friday 6 November 2015.
ABF officers examined the woman’s luggage and allegedly detected a quantity of powder concealed within the sides of the bags. Initial testing was positive for cocaine, an Australian Federal Police (AFP) statement said. Further testing will be conducted to confirm the exact weight and purity of the substance.
ABF Regional Commander NSW Tim Fitzgerald said ABF officers were constantly alert to attempts to import illegal drugs by air.
Edited by William Sykes