A large quantity of cocaine worth more than NZ$500 million (approximately $316 million) was seized from the Pacific Ocean and was likely destined for Australia, New Zealand police said on Wednesday.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement that the illicit drug was found afloat in the Pacific Ocean during “Operation Hydros,” which was carried out in collaboration with customs and defense personnel.
“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” he said, adding that the drugs’ likely destination was the Australian market.
“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,” he said in the statement posted on the police department’s website.
According to the New Zealand Customs Service, the total value of the 3.2 tons of drugs seized in 81 bales is estimated to be NZ$500 million (approximately $316 million).
“While no arrests have been made at this stage, enquiries will continue into the shipment including liaison with our international partners,” said Coster.
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