Federal Police have warned crime syndicates over smuggling drugs into Australia via the coast, after two Queensland men were charged for their alleged involvement in smuggling more than half a tonne of cocaine into WA. Police allege the two men, aged 45 and 53, travelled to WA to carry out a complex plot to collect drugs dropped in the ocean off the Denham coast by a bulk cargo carrier. But the plan failed when one of the men needed to be rescued at sea. The 53-year-old man was allegedly waiting for the vessel at a boat ramp and, had the plot succeeded, he would have allegedly been responsible for driving across the country to transport the drugs to Queensland. Four days later a dramatic police raid in the holiday town of Kalbarri saw police seize 560kg of plastic-wrapped cocaine. The raid led to the arrest of three other men from Queensland – aged 29, 32 and 49 – who are accused of also purchasing a boat and using it to collect the mammoth drug haul from the ocean. Authorities allege all five men were involved in the same transnational criminal syndicate responsible for the drug trafficking venture which would have seen an estimated $224 million worth of cocaine hit the streets, had been successful. Australian Border Force Commander Ranjeev Maharaj said the ABF has seen 4296 such detections of cocaine in the 2023 financial year alone, a figure up 166 per cent from the previous financial year. “Organised crime syndicates are relentless in their efforts to flood our shores with cocaine, with the motivation being greed and profit,” Commander Maharaj said. “While these crime syndicates are relentless, so are we.” Attempts to smuggle drugs by dropping them into the sea for later retrieval have become prominent in off the shores of Australia according to AFP detective superintendent Anthony Conway. With sea-borne smuggling strategies on the rise, Australian Federal Police have put a warning out to crime syndicates that authorities are alert to their plots. “Drug importation offences carry the potential of life in jail,” Detective Superintendent Conway said. “But anyone involved in these at sea trafficking enterprises is not just risking their freedom – they’re also risking their life.” Multiple would-be drug smugglers have found themselves calling on authorities for held after running into trouble at sea while allegedly trying to collect cocaine cargo. Three men who were pulled from the ocean in February after capsizing off the coast of WA’s south were later charged with police alleging the trio had collected 300kg of cocaine at sea. In May authorities helped another three men off the coast of Fremantle after they struck trouble in the 10m cabin cruiser purchased only a day earlier with the men allegedly linked to the attempted collection of almost 850kg of cocaine.