16 Nov 2012

Australian police say cocaine shipment found in Tonga had been tracked from Ecuador

7:24 pm on 16 November 2012

Australian police say a huge cocaine shipment found in a wrecked yacht on an uninhabited Tongan atoll had been monitored from the time it left Ecuador.

The yacht, which also had the badly decomposed body of a man on board, was carrying 200 kilogrammes of cocaine worth an estimated 120 million US dollars.

The discovery has been made in a joint operation involving Tonga Police, the Cook Islands Police, the Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protections Service and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The AFP's Assistant Commissioner for Serious and Organised Crime, David Sharpe, says they got an initial tip off that a huge shipment was bound for Australia on the yacht, Jereve.

"This was part of an investigation that we'd been conducting we had been conducting as a result of information given to us by the DEA and we knew that an international organisation was targetting Australia via a 13 metre yacht due to depart Ecuador with a multi hundred kilo load of cocaine destined for Australia."

AFP Assistant Commissioner David Sharpe