- Police seize $11.5 million worth of cocaine
- Drugs replaced with fake substitutes
- Police arrest four men and one woman
FOUR men and one woman will face court in Sydney after police seized $11.5 million worth of cocaine that was on its way to Australia from the United Kingdom disguised as tins of powdered nuts.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the two air cargo consignments, containing 33kg of cocaine, arrived in London from Mexico earlier this month and were addressed to a business premises in Sydney.
The UK police seized the drugs and replaced them with fake substitutes.
A 41-year-old Marrickville man took delivery of the two packages at a storage facility in Sydney’s west on Tuesday, the AFP said.
On Thursday, a 47-year-old US man arrived in Sydney from Los Angeles and helped the Marrickville man transfer the boxes to a hotel in the Sydney CBD where they began to unpack them.
The next day, the AFP arrested the two men along with three US citizens, including a 25-year-old American woman.
The AFP said the haul was significant and that the operation, initiated by the UK Border Agency, had stopped the drugs from hitting the Australian streets.
“This seizure has saved the Australian community approximately $9.5 million in associated health and social costs,” AFP acting manager Mick Kelsey told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
“Countless lives would have been affected by this seizure had it reached the streets.”