Police Find Insane Amount Of Drugs In The Ocean

New Zealand’s police, customs, and defense force seized three tons of drugs floating in the Pacific Ocean.

By Charlene Badasie | Published


New Zealand authorities have dealt a significant blow to an international criminal syndicate operation after intercepting more than three tons of drugs from the Pacific Ocean. About 81 bales of cocaine were intercepted as part of Operation Hydros. The joint initiative between New Zealand’s police, customs, and defense force is being hailed as one of the region’s biggest drug busts.

Those behind the policing operation said the drugs are valued at more than half a billion New Zealand dollars, CNN reports. Although few details have been made public about the discovery, authorities published a press release about the drugs which included several images. The large packages are seen buoyed by floatation devices with black four-leaf clover labels.

The drugs, which police think were headed for Australia, have since made a six-day journey to New Zealand aboard a Royal New Zealand Navy vessel where they will be destroyed. “There is no doubt this discovery lands a major financial blow right from the South American producers through to the distributors of this product,” Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.

But while the drugs seizure disrupts the syndicate’s operations, New Zealand remains vigilant due to the lengths criminals will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement’s attention.“I am incredibly proud of what our National Organized Crime Group has achieved in working with the Customs Service and Defense Force,” Coster added. The significance of this recovery and its impact cannot be underestimated.

“We know the distribution of any illicit drugs causes a great amount of social harm as well as negative health and financial implications for communities, especially drug users and their families,” Coster continued via the press release. Although no arrests have been made, investigations into the shipment including liaisons with international partners are ongoing.

New Zealand Customs Service Acting Controller, Bill Perry also hailed the drugs bust. Speaking to the media, he said the interception is the result of excellent collaboration with local police, the New Zealand Defense Force, and international partners. “Customs is pleased to have helped prevent such a large amount of cocaine causing harm in New Zealand communities and elsewhere,” he said.

The sheer scale of the drug’s seizure is estimated to have taken more than half a billion dollars worth of cocaine out of circulation. Those figures are a huge illustration of global drug trafficking operations and show no country is exempt from major organized criminal drug smuggling efforts.

New Zealand Defense Force Joint Forces commander, Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour says his agency was also pleased to assist with the mission. “We had the right people and the right capabilities to provide the support required and it was great to work alongside the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service,” he said about the drugs bust in the news release.

“We were very pleased with the result and are happy to be a part of this successful operation and are proud to play our part in protecting New Zealand,” Gilmour continued. Operation Hydros began in December 2022 and serves to monitor suspicious vessel movements along with international partner agencies.