A MAN has been extradited from Western Australia over his involvement in trying to smuggle $245 million worth of cocaine into NSW by boat.
The 35-year-old was arrested in Perth on Sunday and flown to Sydney where he was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
He is the fourth man linked to the trafficking syndicate to be charged.
Investigators discovered 700kg of cocaine concealed in the hull of a boat travelling from the South Pacific to the NSW coast in November 2017.
Two men, aged 63 and 68, have been convicted and sentenced, while another 47-year-old man remains before the courts.
“A man has been extradited from Western Australia as part of an ongoing multi-agency investigation into international drug trafficking by sea,” NSW Police said in a statement.
“In August 2017, investigators from the NSW Police Force Organised Crime Squad, Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission commenced a joint investigation into the importation of cocaine by private vessels.
“With the assistance of Australian Border Force, the National Gendarmerie, Tahiti; NSWPF Marine Area Command and PolAir, and specialist technical and surveillance officers from each agency, investigators monitored a vessel travelling from the South Pacific bound for NSW in November 2017.
“On November 15, 2017, a coordinated joint resolution operation occurred in the Lake Macquarie area with investigators locating 700kg of cocaine, which has an estimated potential street value of $245 million, concealed within the hull of a vessel.”
The Perth man was arrested on Sunday and appeared before Perth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday where investigators were granted his extradition to Sydney. He has been refused bail to appear at Central Local Court in Sydney today.
Joint investigations are continuing and further arrests are expected.