Australian Authorities seize 416kg of cocaine

An AFP-led investigation targeting transnational organised crime has seized 416kg of cocaine off Yorke Peninsula, the biggest haul of illicit drugs ever confiscated in South Australia, worth an estimated street value of more than $166 million dollars.

The multi-jurisdictional operation, involving the AFP, Australian Border Force (ABF), South Australia Police (SAPOL), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Department of Home Affairs, is another blow against organised crime in South Australia. Investigations continue, with further arrests expected.

Fo​ur Filipino foreign nationals, who were crew members of an international bulk shipping carrier, are due to appear in an Adelaide court tomorrow on charges relating to the illicit drug importation.

The four men, aged between 29 and 44, have been charged with importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

If convicted, the accused face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Police will allege crew members offloaded the shipment of drugs overboard once in South Australian waters in mid March, 2022.

ABF conducted a search and located the consignment on 21 March, 2022 off the coast of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

This seizure led to a joint agency investigation – codenamed Operation Lithgow.

AFP investigators allege there was about 416 kilograms of cocaine in the consignment. Further testing will be done to determine the exact weight and purity of the drugs.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said it was likely the illicit drugs would have been distributed across Australia by criminals associated with serious organised crime.

“While the alleged cocaine importation is the largest ever detected by law enforcement in South Australia, it is most certain the drugs would have been trafficked to other Australian states,” Assistant Commissioner Harvey said.