ARRESTS AT SEA: What happened during dramatic cocaine bust
A FAR North Coast rugby union player has been charged over a cocaine haul worth an estimated $210 million after a dramatic ocean pursuit.
Byron Bay man Dru Baggaley, 36, and Anthony Trevor Draper, 53, have been charged with possession of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
Lieutenant Commander Ken Brown of ADV Cape Fourcroy said a Border Force aircraft was undertaking routine patrols in the early hours of Tuesday when the crew saw a small boat heading out to sea about 80 nautical miles off Brunswick Heads.
More teams were deployed to assist with intersecting the vessel - a six- to eight metre-long rigid hull inflatable boat - as it was heading back to shore.
Lt Cdr Brown claimed the boat in which Mr Baggaley and Mr Draper were travelling evaded them at high speed, throwing items overboard.
"My crew retrieved the items from the sea, which were identified as containing more than 600kg of cocaine," he said.
"With the support of continued aerial surveillance ... the craft was intercepted."
The men were intercepted about 40 nautical miles east of Byron Bay and charged with possessing a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported, border-controlled drug.
Australian Federal Police detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe said the cocaine was equivalent to about three million "street hits", worth about $210 million.
"That we have stopped such a large amount of cocaine from hitting the streets of Australia is a testament to the combined efforts of all agencies involved," he said.
Supt Donoghoe said they wouldn't rule out further arrests in relation to the incident and further warrants may be executed.
The arrests resulted from a collaborative effort from the Queensland Joint Organised Crime Taskforce - which involves the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Queensland Police Service and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission - and the Maritime Border Command. They were unable to comment on whether another vessel was involved.
The two men faced Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday and were remanded in custody to reappear on August 20.