Take a moment to slow down so you can understand the scale of this: the Australian Federal Police have seized a shipment of cocaine that is 1,100 kilos.
Let's put that into perspective: bags of sugar come in 500 or 1,000 gramme packs. Imagine walking home from the supermarket carrying ten big bags.
Now imagine trying to get 110 times that past customs on the way out of a country, then on the way into another and to avoid detection at various way points in between. A diverse and difficult to identity group very nearly managed it.
Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police Force and Australian Border Force (that's the one you see on tv checking to see if someone is carrying an apple through Sydney Airport) worked with overseas agencies to identify the shipment and to allow it to proceed, up to a point, so that they could make related arrests.
15 men aged between 29 and 63 have been arrested and charged with offences relating to the importation of drugs.
500 Kg was seized in New South Wales and a further 600kg was seized in Tahiti "destined for Australia."
The shipment was smuggled in a fishing boat, the Dalrymple, that left Sydney Fish Markets on 3 December and later returned to the NSW coast, says the AFP. Surveillance was maintained by several agencies. During Christmas night, a small tender, with one man on board, left the vessel and went to Parsley Bay, in Brooklyn, NSW, where it was met by two men. At that point, the authorities moved in, made arrests and confiscated the first batch of cocaine.
The action is part of Operation Okesi which was set up specifically to investigate drug-running by commercial fishermen. Substantial quantifies of heroin have been found in other raids.
For due diligence purposes, the range and locations of those involved demonstrates that activity crosses large geographical areas and therefore local links are not the only measure when considering KYC.
Arrested on Sunday, 25 December 2016:
•a 63-year-old Australian man at Brooklyn, NSW
•a 56-year-old Australian man at Brooklyn, NSW
•a 41-year-old Australian man at Brooklyn, NSW
•a 41-year-old New Zealand man (Australian resident) on-board the vessel
•a 57-year-old Australian man on-board the vessel
•a 54-year-old Australian man on-board the vessel
•a 29-year-old Australian man at Northmead, NSW
Arrested on Monday, 26 December 2016:
•a 37-year-old Australian man at Zetland, NSW
Arrested on Tuesday, 27 December 2016:
•a 54-year-old Australian man at Kingsford, NSW
•a 49-year-old Australian man at North Lakes, Queensland
•a 63-year-old Australian man at Rokeby, Tasmania
•a 42-year-old Australian man Rose Bay, NSW
•a 31-year-old Australian man at Greenacre, NSW
Arrested on Wednesday, 28 December 2016
•a 33-year-old Australian man at Ulladulla, NSW
•a 39-year-old Australian man at Ulladulla, NSW
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