Three Australians detained in Serbia in a $500-million cocaine drug bust

Belgrade: Serbian police have arrested three Australian men suspected of being part of an international drug-smuggling gang that tried to bring more than a tonne of cocaine into Sydney last year.

Police state that the men “are connected to” the discovery of 1280 kilograms of cocaine that was seized in April 2017 on a Chinese container boat docked in Sydney.

The Australians are suspected of being part of an international drug-smuggling group that tried to import more than a tonne of cocaine into Australia.

The drugs, which were found in 2576 packages concealed within steel tubes on the ship, were said to be worth $500 million.

Serbian police released dramatic footage of the arrests that took place overnight in the lobby of a Belgrade hotel.

A bag filled with foreign currency also was shown, and police said the arrests were made during a “money handover”.

Serbian authorities said the arrests were made in cooperation with Australian Federal police.

A spokesman for the Australian Federal Police said “the men are the subject of an investigation in Serbia” and declined to comment further.

Police identified the men by their initials and year of birth as Australian citizens TV (1983), RA (1974), and DK (1969); along with DG (1977), a citizen of Lebanon.

The Lebanese citizen was detained and charged with having forged identity documents.

B92 reported the men were arrested with a large amounts of various currencies, including euros, Australian, US and Singaporean dollars, Czech korunas, Vietnamese dong, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, Thai bahts, and Serbian dinars, as well as one pistol.

Serbian authorities said they would “continue to cooperate with Australia’s authorities in order to implement further action related to this permanent international investigation”.

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AP

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