Australian Federal Police have alleged in court the catamaran sailed into Coffs Harbour before sailing south to Lake Macquarie in November last year.
Australian Federal Police have alleged in court the catamaran sailed into Coffs Harbour before sailing south to Lake Macquarie in November last year. Nathan Patterson (AFP)

Man pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine into Australia

A MAN, has pleaded guilty to using a catamaran to import 700 kilograms of cocaine from Tahiti to Coffs Harbour prior to an Australian Federal Police raid on the vessel at Lake Macquarie.

Dennis Malcolm Bath, 69, pleaded guilty to conspiring to import a commercial quantity of cocaine in the Newcastle Local Court this week.

Police allege the shipment of cocaine, that was uncovered in November last year carried an estimated street value of $245 million.

Two other men, Kent Anthony Jackson, 63, and Craig William Lembke, 48, are also facing charges over the cocaine haul.

Police seized the illicit drugs and arrested the three men as part of a multi-agency investigation into international drug trafficking by sea.

It is alleged authorities received intelligence about the planned delivery of the drugs and watched the catamaran closely when in arrived in Coffs Harbour last November.

A coordinated joint operation then saw the vessel tracked to Lake Macquarie where the search warrant uncovered the alleged drug haul.

The maximum penalty for import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs is life imprisonment.



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