National

Olympian arrested over $200m drug plot

By AAP Newswire

He once stood tall on the podium - an elite sportsman, a world champion and Olympic silver medallist, now Nathan Baggaley faces years behind bars.

On crutches, wearing shorts and thongs, the kayaker faced a NSW court on Thursday over an alleged $200 million drug plot that ended with 600kg of cocaine tossed overboard during a sea chase off the northern NSW coast.

Baggaley, 43, had been charged with aiding or abetting the alleged 2018 cocaine importation and taken to the Byron Bay court for an extradition hearing.

Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy agreed to the extradition of Baggaley, who will face court in Brisbane on Friday.

His brother Dru Baggaley 36, and co-accused Anthony Trevor Draper, 54, are already before the Queensland courts over the same alleged plot.

Dru Baggaley was arrested after his inflatable boat was allegedly detected by air surveillance some 70 kilometres off Byron Bay in August 2018.

While being chased by authorities, he and Draper allegedly threw overboard about $210 million of cocaine they had picked up from a larger vessel.

Packages of cocaine allegedly linked to the haul have since washed up along the Queensland coastline as far north as Bundaberg.

Nathan Baggaley was arrested after a police raid of his home and business seized cash, white powder believed to be an illicit substance and encrypted mobile phones, the Australian Border Force says.

It will be alleged the kayaker played a key role in the alleged cocaine plot, arranging the importation and paying for the boat used to collect the cocaine with money from the criminal syndicate, ABF says.

He was charged with aiding and abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.

Australian Federal Police acting Detective Superintendent Melissa Northam said the joint investigation was proud to have stopped 587 kilograms of cocaine from hitting Australian streets.

"We remain determined to bring everyone involved in this plot to account," she warned in a statement.

The trio face maximum life sentences if convicted of possessing a commercial quantity of drugs and drug importation.