1.28-tonne cocaine seizure is Australia's second largest
Operation Amorgos commenced in April 2017, with the interception of a container of pre-fabricated steel arriving into Sydney from a source country via China by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.
An examination by ABF officers revealed 2576 individual blocks of cocaine concealed within the steel, weighing 1.28 tonnes in total.
This is the second-largest haul of cocaine in Australia, the largest being 1.4 tonnes of cocaine seized as a result of a joint operation conducted by the AFP and ABF in February 2017.
AFP forensic chemists conducted a deconstruction and analysis of the cocaine and determined a purity of around 78 per cent, meaning the seizure has an estimated street value of up to $500 million.
AFP investigators commenced a tenacious nine-month investigation to pursue those allegedly responsible for this importation. This has involved the cooperation of law enforcement and border protection agencies worldwide, including the ABF and New Zealand Police.
On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, three Australian nationals were detained by Serbian authorities (the Service for Combating Organised Crime, of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the Prosecutors Office for Organised Crime of the Republic of Serbia), for their suspected links to an organised crime syndicate the AFP believes is responsible for facilitating the importation of the 1.28 tonnes of cocaine.
Further investigation and liaison with Serbian authorities is still ongoing.
As a result of the action by Serbian authorities, the AFP executed five search warrants on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 in Canberra, Murrumbateman, Jeir and Goulburn.
No arrests have been made in Australia at this time, though investigations remain ongoing. ■