Australian Police Bust Big-Time Cocaine Smuggler

Cocaine from a drug dropoff gone wrong has been washing up on the beaches in Queensland and New South Wales (AFP)

Published Apr 18, 2024 7:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

Australia's federal police believe that they have solved the case of the floating cocaine bales that have been floating up on the beaches of Queensland and New South Wales over the last few months. 

According to the AFP, the Australian ringleader was a Brisbane resident who set up a cocaine import shipment of 900 kilos. The 36-year-old suspect is accused of running a domestic organized-crime network that handled at least three large-scale smuggling operations, mainly by sea, that brought in (or attempted to) a total of about two tonnes of cocaine. He is suspected to have been involved in plots to import another 20 tonnes of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin in the last six months alone. 

The man was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with seven drug-related offenses, including money laundering and drug-smuggling. He also faces 12 charges of intimidation and violence aimed at competitors and debtors, carried out with the help of other criminals. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. 

According to the authorities, the suspect would use encrypted communications platforms to hire out drug pickups on contract, using the pseudonym "John Dillinger" - a famous American gangster of the Depression era. 

The man stands accused of orchestrating at least three import shipments. Six other associates have already been charged in a related cocaine bust dating to August 2023. 

"Every time someone buys cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine in Australia, they are funding organized crime gangs who are responsible for violence here and around the world," said AFP Superintendent Adrian Telfer.