The pair were in a boat headed for the Australian mainland when they were spotted by surveillance aircraft
BRISBANE: The younger brother of Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley is one of two men accused of throwing more than 600 kilograms of cocaine overboard during a sea chase off the Australian coast, officials said Thursday.
Dru Anthony Baggaley, 36, and Anthony Trevor Draper, 53, appeared Wednesday in a Gold Coast court charged with possessing a commercial quantity of drugs and drug importation. They face potential life prison sentences if convicted.
Law enforcement agencies said in a joint statement that the pair were in a boat headed for the Australian mainland when they were spotted Wednesday by surveillance aircraft off the coast of northern New South Wales state.
As a navy patrol boat approached, the men attempted to escape and threw items into the sea, the statement said.
Officials fished parcels containing more than 600 kilograms of the drug from the sea and intercepted the pair off the coast of Byron Bay, a premium tourist destination.
Dru Baggaley and his two-time Olympic silver medalist brother Nathan Baggaley were sentenced to two years and three months in prison in 2015 for producing 18,000 pills of a party drug and trying to make methamphetamine.
The former kayaker, who won medals in the K1 and K2 events over 500 metres at the 2004 Athens Games, and his brother both admitted making the pills, saying they thought the drug was safe and legal.
Dru Baggaley and Draper were refused bail on Wednesday and will appear in court next on Aug. 20. They have not entered pleas.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could follow.
They have not said where the boat was coming from, but say international partners were involved in the smuggling operation.
“That we have stopped such a large amount of cocaine from hitting the streets of Australia is a testament to the combined efforts of all agencies involved,” Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe said in a statement.