Drugs, body found on Australia-bound yacht
Th yacht 'JeReVe', stranded on the beach in Tonga.
Authorities have found 200 kilograms of cocaine and a dead body on a yacht bound for Australia that ran aground in Tonga.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) says it received intelligence from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in August that an organised crime syndicate had launched the vessel from Ecuador.
The drugs were concealed in the hull of the 13-metre yacht, named JeReVe.
The AFP says the drugs were ultimately bound for the Australian market with an estimated street value of $116 million.
The AFP joined with the Tongan and Cook Islands police forces to search for the vessel.
They found it run aground on the island of Luatatifo, in the northern Vava'u province of Tonga.
A badly decomposed body of a man was recovered and is now the subject of a Tongan coronial investigation to determine a cause of death.
Australian forensic experts are assisting Tongan authorities with this process.
The AFP's acting national manager for serious and organised crime, David Sharpe, called the operation an "outstanding" example of global and regional police co-operation.
"Had the vessel reached Australia, the street value of the narcotics seized is estimated to be up to $116 million," Commander Sharpe said.
"The public health impacts alone on such a large seizure illustrate the importance for a collaborative approach to disrupting transnational crime."