Five men have been arrested and 70 kilograms of cocaine seized in the largest drug bust of its kind in Queensland history.
The stash, brought to Australia from Vanuatu by an Estonian skipper on August 24, is reportedly worth approximately $17.5 million.
The yacht, the Solay, was detected by Operation Cringle, a multi-agency venture targeting organised crime syndicates using yachts and similar vessels to ship cocaine to Australia through the South Pacific region.
Those arrested include the Solay’s 43-year-old Estonian master, and a 58-year-old British national who helped remove items hidden inside the boat, along with three men who attempted to transport the drugs. The first two have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of drugs, while the others face possession charges.
“We believe this operation has disrupted and caused significant damage to a number of organised criminal enterprises that are seeking to profit from the high prices and demand for illegal narcotics in Australia,” said AFP Commander Organised Crime David Stewart.
The men appeared in Southport Magistrates Court yesterday and were remanded into custody.
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