cocaine bust
A supplied image shows Australian law enforcement officers carrying some of the record haul of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine worth A$312 million ($239.5 million) seized from an Australia-bound yacht last week in this picture taken February 5, 2017. Australian Federal Police/Handout via Reuters

Federal Justice Michael Keenan has confirmed the largest cocaine haul in Australia, charging six people between 32 to 63 years old. The Australian Federal Police has seized more than 1,400 kilogram of the drug on a New Zealand yacht that was intercepted off the New South Wales coast. The drug has an estimated street value in excess of $312 million.

The AFP alleged that the Elakha yacht from New Zealand travelled in January to ship in the South Pacific to pick up the drugs from its mother ship before bringing them to Australia. However, the HMAS Bathurst of the Navy has intercepted the vessel located 370km east of Sydney.

Two men, a 63-year-old New Zealand national and a 54-year-old joint Swiss-Fiji citizen, were on board and they will face central court on Monday. One of the men arrested owned the Elakha yacht that is based in the harbourside city of Tauranga located on New Zealand’s North Island. There were three Sydney men who appeared on Feb. 3 in court in Nowra. They were charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug. The maximum penalty is life in prison.

"We have busted the largest seizure of cocaine in Australian history. This is a hammer blow for the organised criminals who peddle in drugs," Keenan said. He called it a historic day in Australian law enforcement.

The investigation started after a tip in August 2014 was received from the New Zealand authorities. Acting Deputy Commissioner of AFP Neil Gaughan said that the office has been pursuing the operation since 2014. He said that their drive and determination's testament was apparent through the interception of the huge volume of drugs as well as the charging of six men involved.

Keenan said that the drug seizure would drive up the sale of cocaine in the country. He added that international drug syndicates were targeting Australia due to the booming market in the country. He said that people in the country would pay more than the equivalent in the world. He cited that the US would pay worth $26,000 for a kilogram of cocaine, but in Australia it could be sold for $240,000. It's a reason he said the drug operation works as a honeypot effect for organised criminals from all around the world.