Thursday, May 19, 2022

How drug smugglers are trying to outsmart border officials at Australian ports

International crime syndicates are attempting to smuggle drugs into the country strapped to the hulls of cargo ships to evade detection, police say.

Once the ship arrives at the port, scuba divers are standing by to collect the contraband.

The audacious smuggling route was exposed this week when a scuba diver was spotted floating in the water at the port of Newcastle, close to where a vessel that had recently arrived from Argentina was being unloaded.

Floating around the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, were numerous packages of cocaine with a street value in the tens of millions of dollars.

It’s believed the diver was attempting to collect the packages from the cargo ship, Areti.GR, when he got into trouble.

Police officer unload oxygen tanks and scuba diving gear on the side of a wharf.
Police divers prepare to search the underside of the cargo ship, Areti.GR, which docked in Newcastle after a voyage from Argentina. ,Nation World News.,

Detectives say the price paid for cocaine in Sydney is the highest anywhere in the world, making it a magnet for international drug traffickers.

“The high retail price of cocaine in Australia is a huge draw for international drug traffickers and they are targeting our community,” Organized Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, said.

Police have identified the scuba diver who died at the scene and believe he may have traveled from South America.

Detectives have known for some time that ports within easy reach of Sydney are being targeted by international drug traffickers.

“Sydney is a huge market, I think we’re all aware of that,” Superintendent Critchlow said.

“We are certainly concerned about the ports of Newcastle and Wollongong. Organized crime definitely look for weaknesses to target at those ports.

“Any port has a lot of movements, so a lot of ships, a lot of trucks, a lot of people. So it is easier to hide drugs among that.”

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Nation World News Desk
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