Canberra, March 6 (IANS) The Western Australian (WA) Police Force said on Monday that 12 drug traffickers were arrested with a record haul of 2.4 tonnes of cocaine seized during an international covert operation.
According to the police, the estimated street value of the seized drugs reached A$1 billion and the cocaine was linked to a Mexican drug cartel, reports Xinhua news agency.
The operation commenced in November last year after the 2.4 tonnes of cocaine, which was destined for Australia, was intercepted off the South American coastline.
As intelligence suggested that the drug traffickers were unaware of the seizure and held the belief that the cocaine remained in transit to Australia, the WA police substituted the cargo with an inert substance and dropped it in the ocean — about 70 km west of the Perth coastline.
On December 30, 2022, officers arrested three members of the shore party onboard a Cool Runnings boat.
The following day, six more men were caught while the police executed search warrants across the metropolitan area.
Another three suspects were tracked down in January, including a 39-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman who hoarded over A$2 million in their vehicle.
“The 12 accused, some of whom are from America, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, are progressing through WA’s courts,” said the state police.