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Queensland superyacht tour operator extradited over diver cocaine death

World

14 May, 2022 02:43 AM2 minutes to read

James Blake Blee was arrested at Cairns Airport in Queensland, allegedly trying to board a flight to Singapore. Video / 7NEWS Australia

The superyacht tour operator accused of having a role in importing more than AUS$20 million ($22.2m) of cocaine found near a diver dead earlier this week has been extradited to NSW.

James “Jimmy” Blake Blee was arrested at Cairns Airport in Queensland, allegedly trying to flee the country and board a flight to Singapore.

He was later charged with importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and supplying a prohibited drug with more than a large commercial quantity.

The 62-year-old, who was denied police bail, is expected to front Parramatta Bail Court over the allegations.

Strike Force Groove detectives successfully applied for Blee’s extradition to NSW at Cairns Magistrates Court on Friday.

A man drowned while trying to smuggle an estimated more than 50kg of cocaine to shore near the Port of Newcastle. Photo / NSW policeA man drowned while trying to smuggle an estimated more than 50kg of cocaine to shore near the Port of Newcastle. Photo / NSW police

The accused was then escorted on a flight to Sydney and taken to Mascot Police Station where the charges were laid against him.

The task force was established by Organised Crime Squad detectives after the diver’s body and 54kg of cocaine were found near the Port of Newcastle.

James Blee has been charged with two offences. Photo / LinkedInJames Blee has been charged with two offences. Photo / LinkedIn

Investigations into the death and the drugs are ongoing, with NSW Police looking to identify a man and a woman they believe could help with their inquiries.

Organised Crime Squad detectives released the images of two people who they believe can assist with their investigation. Photos / NSW PoliceOrganised Crime Squad detectives released the images of two people who they believe can assist with their investigation. Photos / NSW Police

The man has been described as being of South American appearance, about 1.78m tall and with an athletic build.

The woman is believed to be about 1.5-1.6m tall, have a thin build, and a tanned complexion with blonde or grey hair.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online.

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Krzysztof Stanowicz

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