Chinese men charged with drug smuggling in Australia

If convicted, they could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

By: AP | Sydney | Published: December 21, 2016 7:04 am

Ten Chinese nationals were charged on Tuesday with drug smuggling in Australia after officials said they found a stash of cocaine worth more than 60 million Australian dollars ($44 million) on their ship.

Last week, the Australian Defense Force intercepted the 50-meter (160-foot) former research vessel off the island state of Tasmania, and escorted the boat to the state capital, Hobart. During a subsequent search, police found 186 kilograms (410 pounds) of cocaine on board, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said in a statement.

The 10 crew members, all men aged between 23 and 50, were charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug. If convicted, they could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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