News

Massive cocaine haul bound for Australia seized off Tonga

Seized blocks of cocaine.
Seized blocks of cocaine. Australian Federal Police

MORE than 200kg of cocaine with an estimated Australian street value of $116 million has been seized off the coast of Tonga.

Tongan authorities made the massive haul, which was bound for Australia, after a collaborative ongoing operation between Tongan police, Cook Islands police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The drugs were concealed within the hull of a 13m yacht named JeReVe, which ran aground on the island of Luatatifo in the northern Vava'u province of Tonga.

A Tongan coronial investigation is also underway after the body of a man was recovered from the yacht.

AFP forensics officers and Australian forensic pathologists are assisting with the investigation.

Due to challenges caused by tidal conditions and its remote location, Tongan authorities took several days to examine the vessel.

An investigation was sparked when AFP received information from the US DEA in August that a small yacht carrying cocaine had left Ecuador en route to Australia.

AFP, Customs and the US DEA formed a specialised project to examine the activity of international organised crime syndicates in the South Pacific.

Cook Islands police joined the investigation when it was discovered the yacht was in waters near the country.

An extensive search of the region by Cook Islands police maritime specialists and inquiries across the Pacific Transnational Crime Network were launched to locate the yacht, which was later discovered off a small atoll in Tonga.

The AFP is continuing to work with Tongan police at the crime scene.

Tongan Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee said the operation would not have succeeded without the help of AFP officers.

AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner David Sharpe said the operation highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach.

Topics:  australian federal police, cocaine, tonga




Six injured in three car pile up

Paramedics on scene of peak-hour multi-vehicle prang

Man accused of indecently assaulting health worker

A view of the Ipswich Hospital from the corner of East and Court Street. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times

It's alleged the attacker threatened the woman with a knife

Woolworths latest: Uncertainty hangs over Ipswich site

NSW and Victoria to be hit by retrenchments

Latest deals and offers

Alicia Vikander hasn't been home since Oscars

Alicia Vikander "hasn't been home" for nearly nine months.

Tom Hiddleston not worried about relationship attention

Attention doesn't bother 'authentic' Hiddleston

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field to expand family?

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field want more children.

Licking incident bars Ariana from performing at White House

Ariana Grande has been blocked from performing at the White House

Taylor Swift's ex throws support behind Kanye West

Calvin Harris shares a sing-along with Kanye West

Michael Jackson's jailed doctor wants his license back

Conrad Murray wants his medical licence back.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles