News24

Cruise passenger held over cocaine haul

2012-02-22 11:08

Sydney - A British cruise ship passenger arrested in Sydney after he allegedly tried to import a large quantity of cocaine into Australia was refused bail on Wednesday.

British national Ronald Fletcher, aged 59, who travelled to Sydney aboard the P&O ship Aurora, was stopped by customs officers last Friday at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, aided by a sniffer dog named Sherlock.

He appeared in Sydney Central Local Court where bail was formally refused and the case adjourned to April 18.

Earlier, police alleged he was caught hiding several silver packages inside a wetsuit he was wearing under his clothes, and another 25 packages concealed in three suitcases in his cabin.

Officers from the Australian Federal Police estimated he was carrying 30kg of cocaine and he was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border protected drug.

His arrest followed an international investigation in which American authorities detained an Australian man and two New Zealanders on board the same ship when it docked in San Francisco on January 25.

US authorities seized 13kg of cocaine and charged all three with offences relating to its possession.