Police make wild discovery inside Coles bags during traffic stop

Detectives claim almost $700,000 in cash was found stashed inside the reusable plastic bags.

Police have made a startling discovery hidden inside Coles shopping bags during a traffic stop in Sydney’s south-west.

Just hours after NSW detectives launched an investigation into alleged drug supply activity on Thursday, patrol officers stopped a white Toyota Prado travelling on Hume Highway.

While searching the car, police said they found $692,230 in cash stashed in reusable supermarket shopping bags. A small amount of methylamphetamine was also seized. Photos show what appears to be several stacks of $50 and $100 bills tucked inside a Coles plastic bag sitting on the ground in front of two officers.

Left, the $50 and $100 bills in clear plastic evidence bags. Right, the $700,000 cash in the Coles bag on the ground in front of police officers.
NSW Police claim they discovered almost $700,000 in cash stashed in reusable Coles shopping bags on Thursday. Source: NSW Police

The driver — a 43-year-old man — was arrested at the scene and taken to Campbelltown Police Station. There he was charged with knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, dealing with property proceeds of crime over $100,000, possessing a prohibited drug and possessing an encrypted communication device to commit serious criminal activity.

He has been refused bail and appeared before the local court on Friday.

Record-breaking haul found floating

The surprising find comes two years after a truck driver was charged for allegedly hiding $2.75 million in cash in Woolworths esky bags, and just months after a NZ$500 million drug delivery bound for Australia was found floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The record-breaking haul of 81 bales of cocaine totalling 3.2 tonnes was discovered by New Zealand’s defence force bobbing about at sea, wrapped tightly in plastic and kept afloat by buoys.

A mass of plastic and floatation buoys is seen floating in the ocean in front of a ship. Police discovered that $500m of the drug cocaine was inside the packages.
New Zealand police intercepted the haul in the Pacific Ocean, uncovering an estimated half a billion dollars worth of drugs. Source: NZ Police

Photos show some of the bricks of the illicit drug had been marked with logos — including a flour-leafed clover and Batman symbol — but it’s unclear what they mean. New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said it was “one of the single biggest seizures of illegal drugs by authorities” in the country’s history.

Australia's $10 billion a year drug problem

In March, new information released by the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program shed light on the bad habit costing Aussies an estimated $10 billion a year. Data revealed that more than than 14 tonnes of methylamphetamine (MDA), cocaine, MDMA and heroin were consumed between August 2021 and August 2022.

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