Ten men have been charged and 186 kilograms of cocaine worth seized from a 50-meter commercial vessel which was intercepted by Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the Southern Ocean off Tasmania on December 12, 2016.
The vessel and its crew were detained and escorted to the port of Hobart, where they arrived on December 16.
Tasmania Police and federal authorities, including the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Federal Police, conducted a thorough examination of the vessel.
Following the examination, the authorities discovered cocaine on board the vessel, which had been compressed into bricks and wrapped in plastic. The estimated street value of the cocaine is AUD60.45 million (around USD 44 million).
“The investigation into the origin and destination of the drugs is continuing, however it is unlikely that a criminal venture of this nature would target the small Tasmanian market,” ABF said.
The men, aged between 23 and 50 years, were each charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine. This offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, according to ABF.
The vessel will remain in Hobart while Tasmania Police works with other agencies to undertake environmental and biosecurity procedures including the removal of fuel and food, ABF said.
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