Olympian’s brother accused of dumping 600kg of cocaine
THE younger brother of Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley is accused of being one of two men who dumped about $202 million worth of cocaine onto the ocean in a chase off Brunswick Heads this week.
Dru Anthony Baggaley, 36, and Anthony Trevor Draper, 53, are in custody following the multi-agency operation about 150km offshore.
Baggaley and Draper were arrested, charged and appeared briefly in the Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.
Both were remanded in custody and are due to reappear in the same court on August 20.
Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe said the pair face potential life sentences if convicted after being charged with possession of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
The pair allegedly had more than 600kg of the drugs on-board when they spotted the Australian Defence Vessel Cape Fourcroy motoring towards and started throwing millions of dollars worth of contraband overboard in an attempt to outrun the Royal Australian Navy.
"As Cape Fourcroy approached the vessel it evaded at high speed jettisoning items overboard," said Commanding Officer of the vessel Lieutenant Commander Ken Brown.
Rather than chasing the boat Lt Cmdr Brown was told to focus on collecting evidence.
"I was directed to recover the items before resuming the pursuit of the particular craft," he said.
"My crew retrieved the items from the sea which were identified as containing more than 600kg of cocaine and initiated pursuit of the craft supported by the Australian Defence Force aircraft."
After dumping the multi million-dollar ballast into the ocean the duo made it within 75km of shore before they were caught by Queensland police.
"With the support of continued aerial surveillance by aircraft assigned I understand the craft was intercepted by specialist members of the Queensland Police Service more than 40 nautical miles east of Brunswick Heads."
Det Insp Donoghoe said the bust took the equivalent of three million hits of cocaine off the streets.
"Importantly our joint efforts have stopped more than 600kg of cocaine from ever reaching our shores," Det Insp Donoghoe said.
"That represents approximately three million street hits that will never take place that has an approximate value of $202 million, profits that criminals and the syndicate involved will never get their hands on."
Det Supt Donoghoe said the investigation would continue and he would not rule out further arrests.
Authorities would not say whether or not the boat was running to a larger "mother ship" to collect the drugs as investigations were ongoing.
Australian Border Force Regional Commander Terry Price said the organisation had "significant resources" to counter illegal activity.
"The ABF is absolutely committed to protecting the Australian community from the tremendous harm of illicit substances and we'll continue to use all the resources at our disposal to counter illegal activity such as these," Cmdr Price said.