Australian Police Arrest 5, Including Alleged U.S. 'Cocaine Kingpin,' in $10 Million Drug Bust

Australian police arrest 5 people, including a US 'cocaine kingpin', for attempting to smuggle 30kg of cocaine worth $10M from LA to Melbourne. The bust highlights ongoing efforts to combat global drug trade.

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Geeta Pillai
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Australian Police Arrest 5, Including Alleged U.S. 'Cocaine Kingpin,' in $10 Million Drug Bust

Australian Police Arrest 5, Including Alleged U.S. 'Cocaine Kingpin,' in $10 Million Drug Bust

In a major drug bust, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested five people, including an alleged U.S. 'cocaine kingpin' and three female drug mules, at Melbourne Airport in April 2024. The arrests were made in connection with an attempt to smuggle 30 kilograms of cocaine worth $10 million from Los Angeles to Australia.

The AFP intercepted three women, aged 22, 24, and 35, who were passengers on a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, after discovering approximately 10kg of cocaine stashed inside their suitcases. A fourth woman, aged 41, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for attempting to board the same flight with an additional 10kg of cocaine.

Authorities also arrested a 55-year-old U.S. national, accused of running the drug mule operation, upon his arrival at Melbourne Airport. The alleged ringleader is believed to have planned and supervised the transnational drug courier syndicate.

Why this matters: The successful operation highlights the ongoing efforts of Australian and international law enforcement agencies to combat the global drug trade. The arrests send a strong warning to drug couriers attempting to smuggle illicit substances into Australia, as authorities remain vigilant in intercepting such attempts.

The three women and the alleged ringleader were charged with importing and possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine and were remanded in custody to appear in court on August 5. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The AFP stated that the 30 kg of cocaine had the potential to facilitate 30,000 individual street deals and cause significant harm to the Australian community. "The arrests were the result of intelligence sharing between Australian and international law enforcement agencies, and the AFP warned that they will be waiting for drug couriers attempting to smuggle illicit drugs into Australia," an AFP spokesperson said.

Key Takeaways

  • AFP arrested 5 people, including alleged US 'cocaine kingpin', at Melbourne Airport.
  • 3 women arrested with 10kg cocaine each, 4th woman arrested in LA with 10kg.
  • Alleged ringleader, a 55-year-old US national, arrested upon arrival in Melbourne.
  • Arrests highlight efforts to combat global drug trade, warn drug couriers.
  • Accused face life imprisonment if convicted of importing/possessing 30kg cocaine.