SYDNEY — Australian police on Tuesday launched an investigation after 110 pounds of suspected cocaine, estimated to be worth about $14 million, was found near the body of a diver washed up on a riverbank in the state of New South Wales.
A man wearing high-end diving equipment was found lying unconscious near the Hunter River at Newcastle, about 100 miles north of Sydney, on Monday, state police said. Despite treatment by paramedics, the unknown man died at the scene.
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Several packages, which contained a white powder believed to be cocaine, were located nearby.
“We are trying to identify whether the two incidents are linked. They may well be, but we are open-minded as to the options in front of us,” New South Wales police Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow told reporters.
Investigators searched an overseas-registered ship docked near the crime scene on Tuesday and talked to the crew, Critchlow said. Two small boats were reportedly seen near the vessel Sunday night and authorities sought public help to identify them.
A search of the surrounding waters by divers will continue on Tuesday, assisted by officers from the Australian Border Force, police said.