95 Kilo Cruise Ship Cocaine Bust in Sydney Harbor

Sea Princess Multiple news sources are reporting that today, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested three cruise ship passengers who were smuggling 95 kilos (over 209 lbs.) of cocaine into the port in Sydney, Australia. 

SkyNews says that the AFP arrested a 63-year-old man and two women, age 23 and 28, after Australian police with sniffer dogs searched the cruise ship when it berthed in Sydney and found cocaine in their suitcases.

The newspaper reports that the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, New Zealand Customs Service and the Canada Border Services Agency cooperated with the AFP and Australian Border Force in making the drug bust.

Although none of the newspapers identified the cruise ship on which the passengers smuggled the cocaine, the only cruise ship berthing in the Sydney Harbor today was the Sea Princess.

August 29 2016 Update: The Sydney Morning Herald confirms that the cruise ship was the Sea Princess. "The seized drugs have an estimated street value of $31 million (Australian, $23 million U.S.) and this is the largest drug bust of its type on board a cruise ship. Three passengers Andre Tamine, 63, Isabelle Lagace, 28, and Melina Roberce, 22, were charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment . . . The Sea Princess docked in Sydney on Sunday morning on the final stages of a 66-day world tour. The ship began the cruise in Britain at the start of July and visited Canada, the United States, parts of South America, including Colombia and Peru, and Auckland before arriving in Sydney."

October 30 2016 Update: Okay, the record drug bust story just got weirder.  Vice's Quebec Women Charged in Massive Coke Smuggling Bust Documented Whole Trip on Instagram.

Photo Credit: Sea Princess in Sydney By Bahnfrend - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
rob colter - August 29, 2016 11:44 AM

Sounds to me like one or more crew members or stevedores arranged to have the drug taken on board and the Canadians were going to act as the mules. It defies belief that these this amount could pass undetected through ship's security.

Jim Walsh - August 29, 2016 3:30 PM

If an employee were found complicit in the smuggling under US law the DEA could sieze the ship. While it may not be succesful in the long term they could put ship out of action for some time

BigMac - August 30, 2016 2:03 PM

@rob - Or they could have more likely just brought it on themselves when embarking the ship in one of the many ports they stopped at, especially in South America.

The only reason these people were caught was because of the sniffer dogs, which are not the norm in most ports.

As a crew member I can assure you everybody gets checked the same when returning to the ship, no matter what status you are, at least on the ships I have been on.

hmmm - September 19, 2016 6:29 PM

100kg woulda been a nicer round figure than 95kg when it came to the number crunching side of the business. If 5kg went missing from the haul would the traffickers indignantly blurt out "ONLY 95! Where's the rest of it?" I doubt the three arrested woulda been able to sniff through 5000grams during their vacation. If forensics show it to be only say, 50% pure, then some corrupt customs officials, somewhere, are now talking balls really fast at everyone they see and going to the bathroom every 10 minutes!

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