This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
Last week, kayakers paddling off Australia’s east coast stumbled across a 20 kilogram brick of cocaine. The package was floating in the waters of Trial Bay, on New South Wales’ mid-north coast, and was promptly fished out by local authorities before being handed over to Australian Federal Police. It has an estimated street value of $7 million [$5.4 million USD].
It’s not known where the coke came from, where it was headed, or how it ultimately ended up off a quiet beach just south of Port Macquarie. Police suspect it could be linked to a 600-kilo shipment that was seized after being dumped in the ocean off Byron Bay earlier this year—but they’re not sure. Now they’re appealing for anyone who knows anything about the mysterious black package to come forward.
“Any further information we can get from the public may help us establish how this parcel ended up at Trial Bay,” said Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe in a statement. “If anyone saw something suspicious or out of the ordinary in that area, please report it. It could be valuable information to police.”
The find comes just weeks after it was revealed that more than 100 packages of cocaine have washed up on Fijian beaches in the past few months. A week before that, VICE reported that a vessel containing some $50 million worth of coke went missing near Papua New Guinea. While there is no clear link between these incidents, it would appear that the waters in and around Australia are awash with drug smugglers and their lost cargo.
Last week's discovery marks the closest that this recent flood of coke has come to Australian shores.
“A find like this is a concern to police, and we are thankful we were able to seize it before it caused harm within our community,” said NSW Police Force’s Mid-North Coast Police District Commander, Superintendent Paul Fehon. “While we believe this could be an isolated find, I urge any member of the community who locates anything suspicious on the beach or in the water to contact local police immediately.”
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