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Cocaine Seizure In Sydney

Saturday 24 July 1999

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, announced today that an Australian Federal Police Drug Strike Team in Sydney had seized approximately 16 kilograms of cocaine following the identification by Customs of the consignment in airfreight.

"Following a lengthy intelligence driven operation, the AFP provided information to Customs which allowed the targeting and identification of the haul in an airfreight consignment from Panama. The sophisticated concealment of the cocaine within batteries that were part of an industrial floor cleaner, was revealed through the use of modern Ionscan technology currently being used by Customs," Senator Vanstone said.

"The Australian Federal Police has arrested two alleged members of a significant organised drug importing and distributing syndicate which has been operating in Colombia and Australia. The Australian end of that syndicate has now been dismantled," she said.

Senator Vanstone said that this significant cocaine seizure, following on last year's record 225 kilo haul at Coffs Harbour in December, was another example of how effective our law enforcement agencies can be when they have the appropriate resources targeted to areas of need, such as drugs.

"The significant funding provided to the AFP and Customs through the government's Tough on Drugs Strategy is continuing to pay dividends," Senator Vanstone said.

"The additional resources provided to federal law enforcement agencies through Tough on Drugs has enabled federal agencies to concentrate on major drug syndicates.

"This also highlights how closely Customs and AFP officers work on such drug operations and the benefits of bringing them together in the same portfolio."

Both men will be charged with being knowingly concerned in the importation of a prohibited import. One will appear in Sydney's Central Local Court today, the other tomorrow.

Note: details of previous cocaine seizures can be found on Operations Online on the AFP's website at:

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