$500 million worth of cocaine seized in Pacific Ocean

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 08, 2023 |

New Zealand authorities have dealt a significant blow to an international criminal syndicate’s operation after intercepting 3.2 tonnes of cocaine afloat in the ocean.

Under Operation Hydros, New Zealand Police, working in partnership with New Zealand Customs Service and the New Zealand Defence Force, were able to recover the illicit drug in the Pacific Ocean.

Eighty-one bales of the product have since made the six-day journey back to New Zealand aboard the Royal New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Manawanui, where they will now be destroyed.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says given the large size of the shipment it will have likely been destined for the Australian market.

“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product.

“This is one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country. While this disrupts the syndicate’s operations, we remain vigilant given the lengths we know these groups will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement’s attention.”

While no arrests have been made at this stage, enquiries will continue into the shipment including liaison with New Zealand’s international partners.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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