Record-breaking $500m find in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
The huge drug haul was believed to be bound for Australia and included packages with mysterious Batman logos.
A NZ$500 million drug delivery bound for Australia has been found floating in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean.
New Zealand's defence force intercepted a year's worth of cocaine bobbing about at sea, wrapped tightly in plastic and kept afloat by buoys.
A cross-agency operation involving New Zealand police, customs and defence officials produced the haul, recovering 81 bales of the illicit drug totalling 3.2 tonnes.
In police photos, some of the bricks had an image of a four-leafed clover attached to them, while others had a Batman logo – though it's unclear what the symbols mean.
The cocaine has been brought back to Auckland after a six-day journey from the open seas on board the HMNZS Manawanui, and will be destroyed.
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New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said it was "one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country" – worth an estimated $NZ500 million ($A453 million).
"This is the largest find of illicit drugs by New Zealand agencies by some margin (and) we believe this was destined for the Australian market," he 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."
Police believe it’s possible that drug syndicates are testing other methods of delivery since Covid halted air travel.
It’s unclear how the haul came to the attention of police, but investigators are now working to identify who set the drugs adrift.
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