Picture: Pixabay

Durban - Australian border police are trying to establish how cocaine valued at around than R1.4 billion was shipped from South Africa to their country earlier this week.

Security seized 384 kilograms of cocaine in what is being called the biggest single drug bust in the history of Australian federal police. 

The drugs were allegedly concealed in a yellow Cat excavator which was shipped from SA. However, police have not been able to pinpoint exactly where in SA the machine was sent from. 

According to the Australian border force, a joint operation commenced with partners from NSW Police, the AFP’s national anti-gangs squad, Australian border force and other partners.

In June, Australian border force (ABF) officers intercepted a second-hand excavator which had recently arrived from South Africa. The excavator was X-rayed at the Sydney Container Examination Facility and anomalies were identified in the X-ray image.

Upon further inspection, approximately 384 kilograms of cocaine was found to be concealed within the excavator.

Following a controlled delivery of the excavator this week, two Karabar NSW men aged 33 and 34 were arrested at a business premises in Bungendore NSW on Sunday.

The men who were arrested, were charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drug and attempting to possess a border controlled drug. They appeared in the Queanbeyan Magistrates Court on Monday and were they were remanded into police custody.

“It’s clear this group thought that bringing drugs into our district using this machinery would avoid the scrutiny of law enforcement. The seizure of the 384 kilograms of cocaine and the recent arrests shows how wrong they were," said chief police officer for the ACT, Ray Johnson. 

Officials believe that the drugs were headed for Canberra and rural parts of Australia. 

The Mercury