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More than 3 tons of cocaine was found bobbing in the Pacific Ocean after the drugs were dropped there by an international drug-trafficking ring, New Zealand police said. Sublimation Kids 12oz Water Bottl…
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the wholesale value of the drugs was about 500 million New Zealand dollars, which is the equivalent of $316 million, and it was likely destined for Australia.
“We believe there was enough cocaine to service the Australian market for about one year, and this would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years,” he said.
Although they have made no arrests yet, police said they had dealt a financial blow to everyone from the South American producers of the cocaine to the distributors in what was New Zealand’s largest-ever drug bust.
The 3.5 tons of cocaine had been dropped at a floating transit point in 81 bales before it was intercepted by the royal navy ship HMNZS Manawanui.
The vessel then made the six-day trip back to New Zealand, where the drugs were being documented and destroyed.
A police photo showed the haul, apparently before recovery, in a net supported on the ocean surface by floats. The bales contained tightly wrapped bricks of cocaine decorated with the Batman logo and four-leaf clovers.
Coster said police, customs and the military found the drugs after launching “Operation Hydros” in December in collaboration with international partner agencies to identify and monitor the movements of suspicious vessels.
Coster said they were continuing to investigate the case with other international agencies.
Bill Perry, the acting comptroller of the New Zealand Customs Service, said the haul illustrated the lengths that organized syndicates were going to in order to smuggle drugs in the South Pacific.
Stainless Wine Tumbler “We see perhaps this is just an indication that the transnational organized crime groups are testing the market in different ways, so as agencies, we need to collaborate,” Perry said.