TWO men will spend years in prison after a yacht carrying almost a ton of methamphetamine was intercepted off Lake Macquarie.
Australian Federal Police said the 991.9 kilograms of drugs seized last April carried a street value of $495 million.
A 35-year-old dual UK and South African national was sentenced to 16 years and six months behind bars while a New Zealand national, 34, received seven months.
Both were charged under Operation Romani, a collaboration between the AFP, Border Force and NSW Police that investigated a tip-off from New Calendonian authorities about the arrival of a yacht called Mo'Chuisle in the Pacific.
A second yacht left Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on March 31, sailing to an area near Norfolk Island to rendezvous with the Mo'Chuisle.
Marine Border Command officers from the AFP found the La Fayette on April 17 heading southwest down the east coast. NSW Police's command vessel Nemesis stopped the yacht about 50 nautical miles east of Lake Macquarie.
The two crew members were arrested and police seized the drugs.
Both men were sentenced on July 15 for attempting to import a commercial quantity of a controlled drug.
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AFP Detective Superintendent Matthew Ciantar said the operation was testament to efforts across law enforcement jurisdictions to stop organised crime importing drugs.
"Almost one tonne of methamphetamine did not reach Australian streets because of this operation, and that means hundreds of millions of dollars will not flow into the pockets of organised crime," Detective Superintendent Ciantar said.
NSW Police Force Organised Crime Squad commander Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow said police would remain vigilant in their focus on the drug supply chain.
"We know that illicit drugs can destroy lives and communities," Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow said.
"Together, we remain committed to ensuring public safety and putting those responsible before the courts."
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