24 July 2023

Canberra men arrested after alleged $62 million cocaine bust on Townsville yacht

| Albert McKnight

It is alleged a yacht in Townsville was found with almost 250 kg of cocaine. Photo: AFP.

Two men from Canberra are accused of being involved in the case of a yacht that arrived in Queensland allegedly with almost 250 kg of cocaine on board with an estimated street value of almost $62 million.

The Australian Federal Police have announced the men, aged 55 and 44, were arrested at their apartment in Griffith last week and extradited to Brisbane on Friday (21 July).

“Police allege one of the men threw a backpack containing $290,000 cash in a vacuum sealed bag from the apartment balcony when the AFP knocked on the front door and announced they had a search warrant,” an AFP spokesperson said.

“It will be alleged the cash is proceeds of crime.”

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Police allege the men travelled to Townsville from Canberra in May 2023 to recover a commercial quantity of cocaine that was hidden inside the yacht’s hull.

The yacht had arrived in Townsville in April 2023 after sailing from Vanuatu.

After a search on arrival, officers believed the vessel posed a threat and restricted it to port for 90 days while investigations continued.

When the yacht was out of the water, the Australian Border Force and AFP officers allegedly found minor anomalies with its hull.

It is alleged 247 kg of cocaine was ultimately removed after being hidden in enclosed sections.

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The two men are scheduled to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday (24 July), charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drug and dealing in the proceeds of crime.

The 55-year-old also faces a charge of failing to comply with a court order.

The AFP claims the cocaine allegedly seized has a street value of $61,750,000.

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