Photo credit: NZDF

Under Operation Hydros, New Zealand Police, has managed to seize 3.2 tonnes of cocaine which were floating in the Pacific Ocean worth more than half a billion dollars.

This is considered one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country, and given the large size of the shipment it will have likely been destined for the Australian market, in accordance with the Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.

While no arrests have been made at this stage, enquiries will continue into the shipment including liaison with international partners.

“The sheer scale of this seizure is estimated to have taken more than half a billion dollars’ worth of cocaine out of circulation. There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product. While this disrupts the syndicate’s operations, we remain vigilant given the lengths we know these groups will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement’s attention,” as he says.

After seizing 3.2 tonnes of cocaine afloat in the ocean, New Zealand authorities have dealt a significant blow to an international criminal syndicate’s operation.

The illegal drug was found in the Pacific Ocean due to the close cooperation of the New Zealand Police with the New Zealand Customs Service and the New Zealand Defence Force.

Eighty-one bales of the product have since made the six-day journey back to New Zealand aboard the Royal New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Manawanui, where they will now be destroyed.

Operation Hydros was initiated in December 2022, as part of their ongoing close working relationship with international partner agencies, to identify and monitor suspicious vessels’ movements.

Photo credit: NZDF

Police, Customs and other agencies continue to work closely, with international partner agencies, to ensure the security of the borders, Commissioner Coster says.

New Zealand Customs Service Acting Controller Bill Perry says this successful interception is the result of excellent collaboration with Police, and the New Zealand Defence Force, as well as with international partners.

“Customs is pleased to have helped prevent such a large amount of cocaine causing harm in communities here in New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere in the wider Pacific region. It is a huge illustration of what lengths organised crime will go to with their global drug trafficking operations, and shows that we are not exempt from major organised criminal drug smuggling efforts in this part of the world,” as Mr. Perry says.