A 1kg block of cocaine found at Nambucca Heads on March 11.
Labelled blocks of cocaine continue to wash ashore in NSW since first being spotted in December. Image by HANDOUT/NSW POLICE
  • crime, law and justice

Cocaine continues to wash ashore, confounding police

Samantha Lock March 14, 2024

The mystery of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine washing up on NSW beaches continues to confound police as more of the prohibited drug is found along the coastline.

About 256kg of cocaine in blocks has been recovered at locations spanning from the south coast to Newcastle since the days before Christmas.

Detectives are working with specialist resources including PolAir and Marine Area Command, as well as Australian Border Force and Surf Life Saving NSW, to seize any outstanding packages and determine their origin.

The latest discovery – a 1kg block of cocaine – was found ashore at Nambucca Heads on the mid-north coast on Monday.

A 1kg block of cocaine with barnacles attached.
 Some of the cocaine bricks washing ashore in NSW have barnacles growing on them. Image by HANDOUT/NSW POLICE 

In less than one week in late December, 124 barnacle-covered 1kg “bricks” of suspected cocaine were retrieved from the surf between Sydney and Newcastle.

NSW Police were initially called to Magenta Beach, on the Central Coast, on December 22 after a member of the public found a suspicious package containing 39 sealed packets.

On Christmas Eve, seven more individually wrapped bricks washed up on Magenta, Pelican, Blacksmith and Avoca beaches, Pentaloon Bay and North Steyne Beach.

On the morning of Boxing Day, water police were called to the Barrenjoey headland, Sydney’s most northern point, where a fisherman found a blue barrel stuffed with another 39 packets of cocaine.

Some of the cocaine packages that washed up in December last year.
 Some of the cocaine packages that washed up in December last year. Image by HANDOUT/NSW POLICE 

The cocaine blocks carry various labels such as “Tesla”, “Zoe” and “R-Z”.

Detective Superintendent Peter Faux said police believed the cocaine had been in the ocean for some weeks before washing ashore.

“Our detectives have analysed tides as well as barnacle growth on the packages to determine the blocks were only in the water a short amount of time before washing ashore – no more than six weeks,” he said on Thursday.

Det Supt Faux urged the public to help by providing information and continuing to report the discovery of packages.

“Beach-goers are reminded that being in possession of a prohibited drug is a criminal offence,” he said.