Number of men set to be charged in international $47 million cocaine investigation

Five men allegedly connected to 188 kilograms of cocaine seized by Australian authorities in 2019 have been arrested, with a sixth man to be served a court attendance notice after an extensive international multi-agency investigation.

The men are being questioned by police after being taken into custody during a series of coordinated pre-dawn search warrants in New South Wales.

Police believe the men are part of a transnational criminal syndicate that intended to distribute the cocaine throughout Australia after it was supplied by a Mexican drug cartel hidden in a shipment of aluminum alloy ingots.

This amount of cocaine has an estimated street value up to $47 million, with the potential to provide up to 940,000 individual street deals of cocaine. The investigation was launched in February 2019, after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at a Sydney Container Examination Facility found anomalies in a bulk metal consignment sent from Mexico.

Their examination allegedly identified blocks of white powder concealed in well-constructed, hollowed-out sections of 188 of the 1890 aluminium ingots stacked on the pallets. Subsequent Australian Federal Police forensic analysis revealed the substance was high-purity cocaine.

Five men were arrested, alleged to be part of the Australian syndicate linked to the cocaine seized: A 61-year-old from Condell Park, a 37-year-old from Luddenham, a 60-year-old from Linfield, a 69-year-old from Sydney and a 66-year-old from Strathfield.

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