Editor’s note: Images of the seized drugs are available via hightail.

Police are seeking information on the criminal syndicate responsible for importing 700 kilograms of cocaine found hidden on a cargo ship in Sydney’s Port Botany.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers discovered the drugs on July 22, 2022 while inspecting shipping containers on the container ship Maersk Inverness, which had docked the day before. The loot was found wrapped in denim bags inside a shipping container described as containing wood products.

AFP investigators then seized 28 denim bags each containing approximately 25 kg of cocaine in the form of bricks. The forensic drug examination identified different emblems on the bricks of cocaine, including the numbers “5” and “365” and the word “Netflix.”

Preliminary investigations into the vessel have been completed and the vessel has been cleared to continue its voyage.

Anyone with information about this is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said the container ship stopped at ports in Central and South America before heading to Australia.

“We are still investigating where the drugs were loaded and who planned to collect them in Australia,” Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said.

“The interception of this amount of drugs would be a major blow to a well-resourced syndicate and prevent millions of dollars in drug profits from flowing back into the syndicate to fund their lavish lifestyle or their next criminal enterprise.

“AFP estimates that this seizure saved the community more than $451 million in drug-related damages, including associated crime, healthcare and lost productivity.”

Joanne Yeats, Superintendent of Goods Detained by ABF NSW, described the ABF’s role in disrupting the criminal network’s drug supply in our community.

“This seizure demonstrates the technical expertise of our dedicated ABF officers who performed the initial detection and prevented this large shipment of cocaine from entering our community,” Supt Yeats said.

“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the Australian community is safe from the importation of dangerous drugs.”

Buyers on the east coast of Australia can pay up to $400,000 for a kilogram of cocaine depending on availability and purity, with that amount of cocaine worth at least $280 million.

Note to media:

The media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimize any negative impact on community members. The following services allow people to access support and information.

  • For free, confidential advice on alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the National Alcohol and Other Drugs Helpline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 online counseling at counsellingonline.org.au.
  • For more information on drug and alcohol treatment or support, go to turnpoint.org.au.

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ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211

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