It’s been a bad couple of weeks for drug smugglers trying to move cocaine – or ‘rack’, as the Australians call it.
The US Coast Guard performed an epic takedown of a narco-submarine carrying 17 000 pounds (around 7,7 tonnes) of cocaine across the Pacific Ocean.
A handmade submarine isn’t the weirdest vehicle busted carrying drugs, though.
Recent police efforts in Australia uncovered approximately 384 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a second-hand excavator. That’s R1,4 billion worth of cocaine, making this Australia’s biggest drug bust.
The 20-tonne Caterpillar excavator, which is from South Africa, was intercepted when it arrived in Australia, reports VICE.
It’s not known where in South Africa the excavator was shipped from, so somebody may be getting off lightly on this side of the equation.
An X-ray examination revealed the drugs, hidden in the hydraulic lifting arm of the machinery.
In a joint operation between the Australian Border Force, ACT police, and NSW police, authorities reportedly exchanged the cocaine for an inert substance and delivered it to the intended address in Bungendore, just outside of Canberra.
Heavily armed tactical police subsequently raided a landscaping business in Bungendore yesterday and arrested two men aged 33 and 34. It is the largest ever drug interception operation coordinated by ACT police.
“It’s clear to us that this group thought bringing drugs into our district in this type of machinery would avoid police interest,” said Ray Johnson, ACT Policing’s Chief Police Officer. “How wrong they were.”
See the green stuff in the above X-ray? That’s cocaine.
They reckon the drugs were headed for the Australian ski fields just north of the ACT border.
“Inevitably some of it was destined for the streets of the ACT,” Officer Johnson said. “With such a large seizure some of it was clearly destined for other parts of the NSW district, perhaps the snow given it’s ski season.”
Sharon Huey, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Operations at the ABF, said the way in which the drugs had been stashed inside the excavator was “very professional”.
The two arrested men, Timothy Engstrom and Adam Hunter, have since appeared in Queanbeyan Local Court, where they were charged with importing a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.
Looks like people at the ski resort will have to settle for regular snow this year.
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