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Australia makes huge cocaine bust from Brazil

MELBOURNE, Sept 16 – Australian police said Friday they had made one of their largest ever cocaine seizures, intercepting a Aus$200 million (US$206 million) shipment from Brazil hidden in lawnmowers.

Three people were charged with importing commercial quantities of a controlled drug after raids in Melbourne Thursday evening — an Australian, 20, and two Chinese nationals, aged 33 and 35.

The Australian Federal Police said the 271 kilograms (596 pounds) found was the fifth largest seizure of cocaine ever in Australia and the biggest haul in Victorian state history.

“Australian law enforcement is more united and better equipped than ever in the fight against organised crime,” said federal police spokesman Ramzi Jabbour.

“This seizure and subsequent arrests are another example of our commitment to combating these criminal groups that jeopardise the health and safety of the Australian community.”

Police inspected the shipping container with eight ride-on lawnmowers inside at Melbourne on August 19 and found the drugs hidden in wooden boxes.

They then carried out a controlled delivery of 60 kilograms of cocaine to an address in central Melbourne which led to the arrest of one man with two others subsequently caught.

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