A $370 million cocaine haul may represent one of the biggest, if not the biggest, shipments of cocaine ever seized.
On Friday, SBS World News: Australia revealed that Australian police officers had helped seize a stunning 750 kilograms of cocaine on a luxury yacht offshore the island of Vanuata. That’s some luxury, since they estimated the value at about $370 million in Australian dollars — very roughly $334 million in US dollars.
The boat was docked and apparently unoccupied at the time of the $370 million cocaine haul. At the time of writing, there were no reported arrests in connection with the bold smuggling attempt.
However, the investigation continues. Australian authorities believe the cocaine was smuggled by the same syndicate responsible for a large 2011 haul.
Earlier this week, officers found the yacht named Raj docked in the capital city of Port Vila, Vanuatu. They had to chisel through concrete to reach the well-hidden cocaine which was packed in the lower engine compartments and the keel.
A Fox News report said multiple governments and agencies are participating in the effort to stop the flow of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean region. In addition to Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration joined the team in Vanuata to find the cocaine.
The US has also helped out with some other large cocaine seizures in the Pacific. In July 2012, US and Chinese authorities found $98 million in cocaine stuffed in a shipping container in Hong Kong.
According to Crimesider, the haul represented Hong Kong’s largest cocaine seizure. That syndicate apparently planned to sell the drug in either Southeast Asia or mainland China itself.
Here’s a previous report on that 2011 seizure of $80 million worth of cocaine:
But the new $370 million cocaine haul leaves those previous seizures in the dust.
[yacht photo by Plamen Peev via Shutterstock]