New Zealand cocaine (photo by RNZN)

Thanks to 9news for this:

New Zealand authorities have found 3.2 tonnes of cocaine floating in the Pacific Ocean, with the drugs believed to have been destined for the Australian market.

Police, customs officers and defense force personnel worked together on the drug bust, which is expected to deal a significant blow to an international criminal syndicate, New Zealand authorities said in a joint media release.

The shipment of 81 bales has since made the six-day journey back to New Zealand aboard the Royal New Zealand Navy vessel HMNZS Manawanui, and will now be destroyed.

New Zealand cocaine (photo by RNZN)

The size of the shipment made it likely the drugs would have been headed to Australia, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.

“We believe there was enough cocaine to service the Australian market for about one year and this would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years,” he said.

“There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” he said.

“This is one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by New Zealand authorities in the history of this country.”

New Zealand cocaine (photo by RNZN)

“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.”

New Zealand Customs Service Acting Comptroller 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.

New Zealand cocaine (photo by RNZN)

“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.

“The sheer scale of this seizure is estimated to have taken more than half a billion dollars‘ worth of cocaine out of circulation.”

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New Zealand cocaine (photo by RNZN)

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