Published: 15:21, April 21, 2024 | Updated: 16:04, April 21, 2024
Australian police arrest 4 US citizens over cocaine smuggling
By Xinhua
A police officer stands at police cordon near a crime scene at Bondi Junction in Sydney, April 15, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

CANBERRA - Australian authorities have arrested four US citizens in connection with an alleged cocaine smuggling syndicate.

The Australian Federal Police on Sunday announced the arrest of four alleged international drug smugglers -- a 55-year-old male and three women aged 22, 24 and 35 all from the United States -- after 30 kg of cocaine was found in luggage on a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne earlier in April.

A fourth woman, aged 41, was arrested in Los Angeles after allegedly trying to board the flight with another 10 kg of cocaine concealed in her luggage

The AFP said the women arrived in Melbourne with the cocaine on April 12, where police intercepted them following a tip from US authorities.

A fourth woman, aged 41, was arrested in Los Angeles after allegedly trying to board the flight with another 10 kg of cocaine concealed in her luggage.

The 55-year-old man, who has been accused of planning and supervising the syndicate, arrived in Melbourne on a separate flight from Los Angeles earlier on the same day and was arrested on April 16.

AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher said the 30 kg of cocaine had an estimated street value of nearly 10 million Australian dollars (US$6.4 million).

"This had the potential to facilitate 30,000 individual street deals and cause tens of millions of dollars in harm to the Australian community," she said in a statement.

"These arrests send a strong warning to drug couriers attempting to smuggle illicit drugs into Australia -- no matter how you try and move your drugs, the AFP, together with our international, Commonwealth and state law enforcement partners will be waiting for you."

All four who were arrested in Melbourne have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug. The man was charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of cocaine and the women with one count each of possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine.

If convicted, all four will face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.