Australia seizes record cocaine haul on cruise ship, arrests three Canadians

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian customs officers seized a record 95 kg (210 lb) of cocaine from a cruise ship docked in Sydney Harbour following a joint operation at the weekend and leading to the arrest of three Canadians, they said on Monday.

It was the biggest drug seizure at an airport or a cruise ship in Australia, Tim Fitzgerald, a regional commander at the Australian Border Force, said.

Customs officers boarded the vessel and searched cabins with the help of sniffer dogs, they said in a statement.

“It was during the search of the cabin ... that we identified a number of suitcases in the cabin itself that were locked. Itemizer or trace technology was used to scan the outside of those suitcases and as a result a number of tests came positive for the presence of cocaine,” Fitzgerald said.

The Canadians were charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Nick Macfie