New Zealand recovers $300 million of cocaine floating at sea

SYDNEY (Reuters) - New Zealand authorities said on Wednesday they had recovered 3.2 tonnes of cocaine worth more than $300 million, believed to be bound for Australia and found floating at sea.

New Zealand Police said it a statement it had collected the drugs from the Pacific Ocean in a joint operation with the New Zealand Customs Service and the New Zealand Defence Force.

A police photo showed the haul, apparently before recovery, in a net supported on the ocean surface by floats.

No arrests have yet been made.

"This is one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities in this country," Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement.

"While this disrupts the syndicate's operations, we remain vigilant given the lengths we know these groups will go to circumvent coming to law enforcement's attention."

The seizure has a value of NZ$500 million ($320 million), according to New Zealand Customs Service Acting Controller Bill Perry.

($1 = 1.5815 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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