Two men were arrested by Australian authorities in what they called the “largest-ever drug interception operation” after seizing 384 kilograms of cocaine on Sunday.
In a joint operation, Australian Border Force (ABF), ACT Policing, NSW Police Force and Australian Federal Police seized a yellow Cat excavator which had allegedly arrived from South Africa after “anomalies” were identified in an X-ray image at the Sydney Container Examination Facility last month.
They found 384 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $144 million (just over R1.4 billion) welded within the excavator.
Following a controlled delivery of the excavator, two Karabar men, aged 33 and 34, were arrested at a business premises in Bungendore NSW on Sunday.
They were charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drug and attempting to possess a border controlled drug. They appeared in the Queanbeyan Magistrates’ Court on Monday and were remanded into police custody.
“It’s clear this group thought that bringing drugs into our district using this machinery would avoid the scrutiny of law enforcement. The seizure of the 384 kilograms of cocaine and the recent arrests shows how wrong they were.
“The partnership of all the agencies involved has led to this successful outcome. Crime groups should be on notice – all of our agencies are working together to disrupt your activities and bring you before the courts,” said Chief Police Officer for the ACT Ray Johnson in a statement.
Watch video shared by Australian Border Force:
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)