WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand police on Wednesday found more than three tons of cocaine floating in the remote Pacific Ocean after being dropped there by an international drug-smuggling syndicate.
They have not yet been arrested, but police said it has taken an economic toll on everyone from South American drug producers to distributors in what is the largest drug seizure ever in the country. rice field.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Koster said the cocaine was dropped onto 81 bales of floating staging points before being intercepted by Navy ships deployed to the area last week. The ship then took her back to New Zealand for six days, where drugs were recorded and disposed of.
Koster said the wholesale price for 3.2 tonnes (3.5 tonnes) of cocaine was around NZ$500 million ($316 million), likely destined for Australia.
“We believe there was enough cocaine to supply the Australian market for about a year, which would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years,” Koster said.
He said police, customs and the military discovered the drug after the launch of Operation Hydro in December working with international partner agencies to identify and monitor suspicious vessel movements.
Koster said he was continuing to investigate the incident with other international bodies.
Acting New Zealand Customs Commissioner Bill Perry said the haul showed the lengths organized syndicates were going to smuggle drugs in the South Pacific.
“Perhaps this just shows that international organized crime groups are testing the market in different ways, so we need to work together as government agencies,” Perry said.