A record-breaking cocaine haul was seized on a yacht near New Caledonia on July 27 while en route to Australia. The stash, weighing some 1.464 tons, had been hidden in the yacht’s hull. The cocaine has an estimated street value of more than $320 million and would be sufficient for 1.5 million street deals.

French Navy seizes yacht with 1.464 tons of cocaine on board

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), working together with the French Navy, thwarted the cocaine smuggling plot. The 1.464 ton haul of cocaine is considered to be enough for 1.5 million street deals and was seized from the yacht Afalina off the New Caledonia coast.

The yacht was then towed to Noumea for additional investigation. The crew from the French Navy frigate Vendemiaire arrested four members of the Latvian and Lithuanian crew from the yacht. Authorities believe a South American organized crime syndicate was behind the supply of the cocaine.

Speaking of the record-breaking drug seizure on Thursday, Col Blanch, executive director of intelligence at ACIC, said they were thankful for the French authorities’ action which halted the supply of a significant amount of drugs from reaching the Australian streets.

Latest seizure highlights the importance of international cooperation

As reported by the Herald Sun, Blanch said the latest drug seizure shows the importance of cooperation between international law enforcement and intelligence agencies in targeting transnational criminal enterprises, adding that trust built between nations is paramount in fighting organized crime.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan also praised the efforts of the French Navy over the record cocaine haul. Keenan said Australian lives had been saved, as well as crippling a major organized crime syndicate. Keenan also went on to stress the importance of international cooperation to fight drug smuggling. Keenan added that while drug trafficking is a multi-national crime, Australia is working with its international partners to take the fight beyond their borders.

Previous record-breaking cocaine seizure in February 2017

News.com.au reports that the previous record-breaking seizure of cocaine heading to Australia was 1.422 tons discovered on a New Zealand-owned yacht, Elakha, off the New South Wales coast on February 2. In that case the drugs had been taken on board the yacht from a “mother ship” out in the South Pacific and had a street value of around $312 million.