New Zealand authorities discovered 3.2 tons of cocaine floating in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, according to a Wednesday announcement from the government.
A shipment of 81 bales of the substance was likely bound for Australia before being intercepted by a joint operation with the New Zealand Defense Force, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service, the statement reads. The shipment is estimated to have a value of $316 million, according to the BBC.
The amount seized can supply part of the drugs and illegal substance market in Australia for one year, and the New Zealand market for up to 30 years, according to the statement from officials.
“This is one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country,” Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.
Some cocaine packets were labeled with “Batman” symbols, and others with a four leaf clover, pictures released by the New Zealand Police show. The markings are known to be “trademark logos” from various drug syndicates, likely in South America, the BBC reported.
“While this disrupts the syndicate’s operations, we remain vigilant given the lengths we know these groups will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement’s attention,” Coster continued, according to the press release. (RELATED:Officials Discover Over $4 Million Of Cocaine Disguised As Stone)
Batman-labelled cocaine haul seized at sea https://t.co/niHaY85PWa
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 8, 2023
No arrests have been made at the time of writing, but officials are working with international liaisons as part of their “Operation Hydros” in an effort to increase monitoring of suspicious ships off the nation’s coast.
Coster declined to go into specific details in a Wednesday interview about how authorities came across the illegal drugs, saying the nature of the ongoing investigation prevented him from being able to comment on the methodology used in the discovery.
After being seized authorities brought the cocaine to a facility in New Zealand’s North Island to be logged and destroyed, officials said, according to the BBC.