Three men have been charged with importing cocaine into Australia on a cruise vessel after Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers seized around 20 kilograms of cocaine on Friday (November 6).
Acting on intelligence provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, ABF officers boarded the vessel at sea and searched the cabins.
Additional ABF and Australian Federal Police officers, including an AFP forensics team, boarded the vessel when it anchored in Sydney Harbour on Friday.
Two 49-year olds and one 61-year old, all US nationals, were arrested by the AFP. The cocaine will undergo forensic analysis to determine exact weight and purity.
The New Zealand Customs Service supported the operation during the ship’s stopovers in New Zealand.
Spokespeople from each agency involved stressed the importance of collaborating with partner agencies internationally.
The men were due to appear in the Sydney Magistrates Court on Saturday (November 7).
The maximum penalty for importing a commercial quantity of cocaine is life imprisonment.