Maersk Antares Cocaine

New Zealand customs and police department had a tip-off about international drug cartel. They waited for the ship to arrive at the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand. A stash of cocaine worth around NZ$20 million ($18 million) was allegedly retrieved from the sea chest of the Maersk Antares in New Zealand on Tuesday night.

The crew of the container ship was apparently unaware that 46 kilograms of cocaine had been placed there by smugglers for the vessel’s voyage from Chile in South America. A boat came alongside the vessel while the Maersk Antares container ship was berthed at Tauranga to remove the drugs, and those on board were subsequently apprehended by Police. A large consignment of drugs was retrieved from ship chest.

Four men, two Australians, one Croatian and one Serbian, have now been arrested after what was a five-month operation by Police and Customs, with the case being the largest cocaine bust in the nation’s history. The accused appeared in the district court of Tauranga, New Zealand. They didn’t apply for bail application and chose to remain in custody until December. Police and customs denied the role of the crew in drug trafficking and gave a green signal for the ship’s voyage to Hong Kong.

Drug traffickers have been using maritime ships to export large consignment of illegal substances. Earlier in the week, customs officer and police in Ilo Port, Peru raided containership Dimitris C and found 120 bricks of cocaine inside port along $12,000 cash.

– Chaitanya Kulkarni

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