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



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

It's official, Christmas has started in Ipswich

TIS THE SEASON: Plenty of families got into the holiday spirit at the Christmas Twilight Parade.

PHOTOS: Annual Twilight Parade draws hundreds, more events to come

Serious injury experiences that may help you

Former Ipswich footballer and elite masters athlete Darrin Norwood knows how to overcome challenges.

Ipswich all-rounders recover from knee surgery

Check out these handy recovery tips

Ipswich Knights footballer Adam O'Sullivan receives immediate treatment after suffering a serious knee injury.

Wise advice when dealing with serious injury

Local Partners

FLOOD RISK: Mayors launch plan to protect $260M industry

A COMPREHENSIVE plan to deal with the flood risk to rivers and lakes in the Lockyer Valley has been launched.


It's official, Christmas has started in Ipswich

TIS THE SEASON: Plenty of families got into the holiday spirit at the Christmas Twilight Parade.

PHOTOS: Annual Twilight Parade draws hundreds, more events to come

What's on this weekend

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Things to do in Ipswich

Five things to do this weekend

Renee Schulz, Brad Baxter, Elizabeth Mills and Nathan Schulz prepare for the Marburg Church of Christ Christmas Carols.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

Your guide to what's on in Ipswich

Jennifer Lawrence gives keys to new partner

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence

Oscar winner settling down with new partner

Rogue One star proud to lead new Star Wars film

Felicity Jones leads the new Star Wars film

Star Wars lead proud to be in front in sci-fi

What's on the small screen this week

Ernie Dingo stars in the TV series Going Places with Ernie Dingo.

ERNIE Dingo stars in a new travel series and Seven airs the AACTAs.

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

New 1200-seat Mormon church to open in Ipswich

COMMUNITY: Barbara MacDonald of Springfield Lakes with her children from left, Jacob, 6, Charlotte, 2, Joseph, 4, Emily, 9, and Lachlan, 8, outside the newly built Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Augustine Heights.

One of Australia's largest Mormon churches will open this month

REVEALED: 25 of Ipswich's cheapest houses

8 Trumper St, East Ipswich, Offers above $230,000.

Old and neglected homes in hot demand with renovators

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!