$332M USD worth of cocaine found hidden in yacht bound for Australia

By Robert Ovadia

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (SEVEN/CNN) - Seven hundred fifty kilos of cocaine from Colombian drug smugglers has been found aboard a yacht bound for Australia.

It was raided in Vanuatu, with the $370 million AUD ($332.8M USD) haul hidden under a fake concrete floor.

On the federal police's winter getaway to Vanuatu, a few happy snaps. Around 750 kilograms of cocaine was found, destined for Australia. Three quarters of a million street deals, $370 million AUD worth.

"The concealment, as you can see from the film, was particularly sophisticated, drugs hidden in lower engine compartments and around the keel area," said Karen Harfield with the Australian Customs Service.

Not just hidden, but encased in concrete. It took officers hours to chisel their way through to their payload. They'd been watching the yacht since last month, as part of a joint three-year operation between Australia, south pacific authorities and America's Drug Enforcement Administration.

"South American drug trafficking syndicates continue to target Australia by way of the South Pacific as a staging point on the journey across," said David Cali with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

This shipment is thought to have originated in Colombia. "The Scope" was docked at Port Vila and was likely headed for Queensland.

"On this occasion we've taken the legs out from under them but we are certainly not resting on our laurels," said Asst. Comm. Ramzi Jabbour, Australia Federal Police.

There have been no arrests yet. The cocaine will reach its intended destination, but not its intended clientele. It's being brought to Australia to be destroyed.


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