An Olympic legend was part of a failed drug smuggling attempt which resulted in tens of millions of dollars worth of cocaine washing up on beaches along the east coast of Australia, police allege.
Dual Olympic silver medallist Nathan Baggaley, 44, is accused of working with an international drug syndicate to help bring $176 million worth of cocaine into Australia in July, 2018.
Court documents state Baggaley’s brother Dru was also allegedly involved in the plan, along with skipper Anthony Trevor Draper, 53.
Police allege Dru and Draper met up with about 20 gun-wielding South Americans out at sea to exchange the cocaine.
The men allegedly threw packages of cocaine into the ocean, while Dru and Draper fished them out and transferred them to an inflatable boat.
As the duo were making their way back to shore, water police intercepted them off the coast of Byron Bay, court documents seen by The Sunday Mail revealed.
Dru allegedly dumped 652kg of cocaine overboard. While the navy managed to secure some of the packages, dozens more washed up on beaches across the east coast in the seven months to follow.
Nine packages worth $18.5million were found by residents from Curtis Island in Queensland to Port Kembla, south of Sydney, while tourists on Fraser Island found another $5.2million package.
Kayakers found $7million in NSW’s South West Rocks and $289,000 was found by beachgoers in Bargara, Queensland.
A Queensland mother and son found another package in Elliot Heads in December, 2018, which was crucial in linking the washed up parcels to those confiscated by the navy, according to court documents.
Police allege the packages were almost identical to the 76 per cent pure cocaine found in the ocean.
Dru was ultimately caught because officers had video footage of him handling the drugs near a 55-metre red ‘mother’ ship in international waters.
Police allege Dru and Draper spent an hour loading the cocaine onto the inflatable boat which they believe was purchased for $106,700 by Baggaley.
The Olympian also named the boat ‘Medellin’ – the cocaine capital of Columbia – and covered the license plates, police allege.
Officers allege Baggaley was waiting for his brother and Draper to come back to a boat ramp in Brunswick Heads, NSW.
He hadn’t yet realised they were arrested by water police as they raced to shore. Court documents reveal Baggaley had also tried to ring the boat’s satellite phone under a fake name.
It took a year before Baggaley was charged with aiding or abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
Baggaley was refused bail and is due to appear in court on Thursday. He could face a maximum of life in prison over the charges.
Dru will face court next month.