Brisbane man charged after alleged failed 900kg import caused cocaine blocks to wash up on beaches

A Brisbane man has been charged with 19 offences after an alleged failed 900kg drug import resulted in blocks of cocaine washing up on NSW beaches for months.
The cocaine bricks have allegedly been washing up on beaches between Sydney and Newcastle after a cocaine import failed off the coast of Queensland’s Moreton Island in November 2023.
The bricks have been turning up on shores since December 2023, with the most recent found on April 1.
Some of the cocaine packages found washed up on NSW beaches. (NSW Police Force)

About 256kg of the suspected 900kg has been seized by NSW Police after washing up on the shores.

The 36-year-old is allegedly the head of a domestic crime network that distributes multi-tonne importations of cocaine into Australia, primarily using sea routes, according to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Police allege he used encrypted communication platforms to organise drug pick-ups and drop-offs.

He is alleged to have facilitated 560kgs of cocaine in WA’s mid-west region in August 2023.

The AFP believes he was also involved in ”conspiracies to import” 20 tonnes of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin into Australia since late 2023.

Police warned the public after seven packages suspected to contain cocaine washed up on beaches between Newcastle and Sydney. (NSW Police Force)

He was due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today, after being arrested in Brisbane’s northern suburbs yesterday afternoon.

“The Aspley man was also charged with a further 12 offences for allegedly using violence and threats to collect debts and intimidate rivals by engaging criminal associates to assault, firebomb, shoot at and extort his customers,” AFP said in a statement.

AFP Superintendent Adrian Telfer said the AFP and their partners were working to strike at all levels of organised crime and make it harder for others to take their place.

“That means we will focus on the heads of syndicates and those who work with them,” Telfer said.

“Every time someone buys cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine in Australia, they are funding organised crime gangs who are responsible for violence here and around the world.

One of the packages of cocaine had the word Zoe written on it. (NSW Police)

“There was understandably community concern when cocaine washed up on beaches – beaches where our children play, swim and eat.

“The AFP and our partners dedicated a significant amount of resources to ensure we have kept the public safe and brought those allegedly responsible before the courts.”

Queensland Police Detective Acting Superintendent Brad Phelps said stopping the drugs from hitting the streets was a significant victory, “not just for law enforcement, but for all Queenslanders”.

Australian Border Force Superintendent Troy Sokoloff said they would be relentless in their pursuit of drug traffickers.

The 36-year-old was charged with 19 offences including importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, directing activities of a criminal organisation and arson.

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