Three Canadians charged with record cocaine haul aboard cruise ship

Three Canadians appeared in a local court on Monday accused of smuggling 95 kilograms of cocaine aboard a cruise ship in Sydney.

"This is the biggest seizure of narcotics through a passenger stream, so either through the airport or cruise ships, this 95kg of cocaine is the largest seizure we've seen in Australia," Border Force commander, Tim Fitzgerald, told reporters on Monday.

Police and sniffer dogs found the cocaine in the tourists' suitcases after the ship berthed at Sydney Harbour on Sunday. The trio were charged with smuggling a commercial quantity of border controlled drug.

Police have estimated the haul to be worth more than 31 million AUD (23.5 million US dollars).

Australian federal police said it was a joint operation between the federal police and border force, in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security, New Zealand customs service, and Canada border agency.

"These syndicates should be on notice that the Australian Border Force is aware of all of the different ways they attempt to smuggle drugs into our country and we are working with a range of international agencies to stop them," Australian Border Force's assistant commissioner, Clive Murray, said in a statement.

The cruise liner, the Sea Princess - part of Princess Cruises fleet - started the journey in Northampton in England and made several stops in South America along the way, according to local media.

On Monday, the three appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court via video link from police custody. They did not apply for bail.

They will next appear in court on October 26.

In Australia, the maximum penalty for the offence of smuggling drugs is life imprisonment.

Last update: Mon, 29/08/2016 - 11:06
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