An elderly pilot is among three men charged after allegedly plotting to make an island-hopping drug run from California to Australia carrying ice worth more than $250 million.
The Australian Federal Police allege the trio intended to use a six-seater plane to ferry the massive haul of ice across the Pacific Ocean, but the scheme never got off the ground.
Plans to fly the small plane from the west coast of the United States to a regional Victorian air field was “unique”, AFP Superintendent Krissy Barrett said.
“Now I’m not a good flyer at the best of times but that’s certainly not a plane I would have wanted to be on,” she added.
The 255kg quantity of ice, worth an estimated $255 million, was discovered by the US Drug Enforcement Administration in a northern California storage facility on June 15.
The drugs were to be hidden in the plane, Supt Barrett said.
“We’ll allege there was a sophisticated concealment plan for the drugs …. which involved the removal of passenger seats on board the aircraft.”
A 72-year-old Melbourne man who is a qualified pilot was arrested at Melbourne Airport on July 5.
Police allege he planned to fly to the US, before piloting the light aircraft back to Australia.
A 52-year-old NSW man was stopped at Sydney International Airport on Friday after $2.4 million in cash was seized at Mildura, in regional Victoria, in a discovery police have linked to the alleged trafficking plans.
A 58-year-old Maribyrnong man connected to the haul was arrested in Melbourne’s west on Wednesday.
The trio were charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.
The NSW man is due to face court on Friday, while the others have already appeared before a magistrate.