United States DEA tip-off leads Australian police to drugs haul worth £75m

A decomposing body and more than 200kg of cocaine has been discovered on a shipwrecked yacht that ran aground on an island off the coast of Tonga.

Gallery: £75m Cocaine haul

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) joined forces with rescuers from Tonga and the Cook Islands to search for the vessel after receiving a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The AFP received information from the US DEA during August 2012 that a small yacht carrying cocaine was en route from Ecuador to Australia and an investigation commenced.

The 13m yacht, JeReVe was discovered this week on the island of Lautatifo in the northern Vava’u province of Tonga, with the drugs stashed in the hull and the remains of an unidentified male onboard.

Australian forensic
pathologists are assisting Tongan coroners to determine a cause of death.

“The seizure of the 204 kg of cocaine has successfully stopped approximately AU$116m worth of cocaine reaching Australia’s shores,” AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner David Sharpe.

“The public health impacts alone on such a large seizure illustrate the
importance for a collaborative approach to disrupting transnational
crime,” he added.