Man Arrested Fleeing Australia After Drug Mules Death In Newcastle
Connected to cocaine shipment
Police have stopped a man in North Queensland allegedly trying to flee the country and slapped him with a raft of drug smuggling charges.
It follows the death of a suspected drug mule who drowned and the discovery of $20 million of cocaine in Newcastle earlier in the week.
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Detectives from the Organised Crime Squad along with officers from AFP and Queensland police arrested the 62-year-old Queensland superyacht tour operator on Wednesday as he tried to board a plane bound for Singapore.
The man was taken to Cairns Watch House where he was charged with a number of offences including importing large commercial quantities of a border-controlled drug and a large commercial drug supply.
It comes as police discovered more evidence of drugs further up the Hunter River on Wednesday, with an empty bale washed up on the banks of the river near the Port of Newcastle.
Authorities also suspect they have identified the drug mule who drowned attempting to retrieve the 50kg of cocaine from the inside of the hull of the Areti. Gr Majuro, a cargo ship from Argentina as a foreign national.
Police allege the diver, most likely with the assistance of other criminals, was able to get some of the drugs ashore before his death.
NSW Police Organised Crime Squad boss Rob Critchlow said they assumed the diver was part of a larger syndicate who “left for dead” when things went wrong.
“This was a well drilled professional group, comfortable doing what they were doing”
“(They were) comfortable sending drugs on a ship across the world to get in and target our community here in Australia, so they knew exactly what they were doing,” Detective Superintendent Critchlow said.
Meanwhile, crime squad detectives will seek extradition of the 62-year-old as investigations continue into the shipment cocaine attached to the hull of a ship that arrived in the Port of Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
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