Massive cocaine haul worth over $100 million found concealed in EXCAVATOR
An enormous stash of cocaine weighing 384kg has been found hidden inside a 20-tonne Caterpillar excavator which had been shipped to Australia from South Africa.
The huge haul was spotted by the Australian Border Force after the machine was X-rayed at the Sydney Container examination facility in June. The bust led to two significant arrests on Sunday as police swooped down on the suspected smugglers in the sleepy town of Bungendore in New South Wales.
The drugs were likely destined for the cities of Melbourne and Canberra as well as for ski resorts in the aptly named Snowy Mountains.
Border Force officers found hundreds of 1kg cocaine packages concealed in the hollow hydraulic lifting arm of the excavator. The drugs have a street value of $144 million AUS ($101 million).
After the discovery the machine was patched up by authorities who then carried out a “controlled delivery” of the Trojan excavator to its intended destination. Police units then swarmed a building in Bungendore on Sunday morning, arresting two men.
The smuggling operation was described as “incredibly sophisticated” by the Australian Border Force’s Deputy Commissioner of Operations Sharon Huey.
Our largest drug seizure, EVER! About 384kg of cocaine seized and two men charged following arrests in Bungendore yesterday. The seizure is worth $144m and roughly 1.92m hits of cocaine off our streets. Thanks to @AusFedPolice@AusBorderForce@nswpolice. https://t.co/G9Br3vr6p5pic.twitter.com/GYXnA5fk4w— ACT Policing (@ACTPolicing) July 15, 2019
“Our officers have highly sophisticated technology at their disposal and this detection really shows no matter the lengths criminals go to – even if they weld drugs into machinery - we have the skills and equipment to find these concealments,” she said.
The arrested men did not enter pleas or apply for bail when they appeared in court on Monday as a result of the raid.
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