More packages of suspected drugs have been found washed up on the Northern Beaches.

Following the discovery of suspected packages of cocaine washed up on beaches, including one suspicious package found at Manly Beach on Christmas Eve (Sunday, 24 December), 124 kilograms (kg) of drugs have now been recovered, including a major haul of 39kg found at Palm Beach.

The source of the drifting drugs remains a mystery. The first barnacle-bound bunch of 39kg of suspected cocaine was found last week, just after 8.00pm Friday, 22 December, washed ashore at Magenta Beach on the Central Coast. A further 7kg in individually wrapped packages were reported by members of the public on Christmas Eve (24 December) at Magenta Beach, Pelican Beach, Blacksmiths Beach, Avoca Beach, Pantaloon Bay, and North Steyne at Manly.

Barnacle encrusted package of suspected drugs

Since then, a further 78kg has been recovered in two 39kg lots, one was located near the Newcastle Ocean Baths, the other at Palm Beach.

Around 11.00am Tuesday, 26 December, officers attached to NSW Police Marine Area Command, which has a base at Church Point, were called to Barrenjoey Headland, Palm Beach, where a fisherman had located a blue barrel containing 39 individually wrapped one kilogram (1kg) bricks of suspected cocaine.

Packages containing suspected drugs wash up on beaches

Later in the day around 5.30pm, officers attached to Newcastle City Police District were called to Newcastle Ocean Baths after a member of the public found a suspicious package containing approximately 39 individually sealed packages believed to be approximately 39kg of cocaine.

Packages containing suspected drugs wash up on beaches

Police seized both packages to undergo further forensic examination, and referred the matter to State Crime Command. Inquiries are ongoing, with specialist police resources, such as PolAir and Marine Area Command, continuing to search the area with the assistance of Australian Border Force (ABF) and Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW).

NSW Police Director of State Crime Command, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Weinstein, thanked the public for the assistance in locating and reporting the packages to police.

“We thank those who have heeded the warning to report any suspicious packages to police as we get to the bottom of this matter and we remind people that being in possession of a prohibited drug is a criminal offence.

“Detectives and specialist police are currently combing beaches and coastlines for any outstanding packages and working behind the scenes to make sure we find and hold accountable those responsible,” said Det C/Supt Weinstein.

Water Police at Palm Beach

Speculation about the source of the suspected drug shipment has been intense, with the barnacle growth found on the initial package indicating it had been in the water for some time.

Just over a year ago, in May 2022, a major drug shipment of up to 200kg of cocaine was believed to have been lost when a diver was found dead after what was believed to be a failed attempt to retrieve drugs from the hull of a bulk carrier docked at Newcastle port.

It is not clear if the suspected drugs now washing up on beaches from Newcastle to the Northern Beaches of Sydney are part of that lost shipment resurfacing, or whether another major drug importation has gone awry.

Anyone with information about this incident that may assist investigators is urged by NSW Police to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, NSW Police

Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

NSW Police are seeking public assistance in relation to this matter. If you have any information that may assist them with their inquiries, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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