Australia’s border force is struggling to contain the flow of drugs into the country as violent drug cartels go to extreme lengths to evade authorities.

In a shocking 60 Minutes episode on Sunday night, professional diver Jared Darcey revealed how cartels now smuggle in drugs through ports on the bottom of ships.

One alleged cartel diver, Brazilian Bruno Borges, drowned after trying to recover a massive 50kg haul, valued at $20m, from the bottom of a ship in the Port of Newcastle in 2022.

Mr Darcey said Mr Borges used a rebreather, which stops air bubbles from being released, in his dive to avoid detection.

“Depending on the type of rebreather he was using, if he was using 100 per cent oxygen rebreather, that does have a depth limitation of about 10 metres,” he explained.

“So if he was diving to collect a large quantity of drugs, that would make him a lot heavier in the water and he could have easily surpassed the 10m mark.

“Which then, the diver will go into a blackout and once you black out under water, the chance of drowning is quite high.”

The program delivers troubling news for Australia, with Border Force commissioner Michael Outram admitting his team only stops about 20 per cent of drug shipments coming into the country.

“Some 80 per cent of drugs are still making their way through to the streets of this country,” he said.

And that means carnage on the streets of Australia’s major cities as gang wars rumble over the lucrative trade.

Ahmad Hraichie, an undertaker at the Lakemba Mosque in western Sydney, said people were moving out of the area to get away from the crime.

“The devastation, the aftermath, the collateral damage all left behind, nobody sees that,” he said.

“The story‘s on the media once, twice and that’s it.

“No one sees what is left, that the family has to pick up the pieces and deal with.”

Mr Outram also conceded cartels had likely infiltrated every part of the supply chain, from shipping companies to port authorities.

“Within Australia, it‘s significant, it’s a big problem,” he said.

“I would say the vast majority of people I deal with in industry, they’re doing the right thing.

“But we’ve identified in the last two years, looking into this problem, about 100 organisations and 1000 people that operate at the border that really worry us. And that’s what we can see.”

He also said border force officers may have been compromised.

“There’s no organisation that can lay claim to being corruption free or corruption proof,” he said.

“Because organised crime (groups) need our information. They want our information. They want to know where we are, when we’re going to be there, what we’re not looking at.

“It’s gold for them and we realise the value of that.

“99 per cent plus of the workforce are absolutely committed to the mission.

“I’ve got 5,700 officers, if just one of those officers, just one, is in the pocket of organised crime and they’re in a job where they can access certain sensitive information, that’s a big problem for us.”

Mr Outram is optimistic Australia can roll back the inflow of drugs and 60 Minutes spoke with Dutch director general of customs Nanette van Schelven, who has had success defeating cartels at the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport.

With hi-tech surveillance and specialist dive teams, Ms van Schelven said Dutch authorities stopped between 50 and 65 per cent of drug shipments through the port.


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By Rahul

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