Court today for man extradited from Queensland in relation to Newcastle cocaine haul

A man will face court today after being extradited from Queensland and charged in relation to the death of a diver and the discovery of $20 million worth of cocaine in Newcastle earlier this week.

James Blee was caught by police just as he was about to board a one-way flight to Singapore on Wednesday in Cairns.

He was charged over his alleged role in the importation of cocaine; 54kg was found at the Port of Newcastle on Monday morning and is believed to be linked to a huge haul of cocaine found in Indonesia.

Strike Force Groove was established by Organised Crime Squad detectives after the cocaine find as well as the discovery of the body of a diver near the illicit haul.

The investigation is also being assisted by officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Northern Territory Police (NTPOL) and Queensland Police (QPOL).

Strike Force Groove detectives travelled to Queensland, where they applied for and were granted 62-year-old Blee’s extradition to NSW at Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday.

The man was subsequently escorted by detectives on a flight to Sydney and taken to Mascot Police Station, where he was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and supply prohibited drug more than large commercial quantity.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today.

As investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident continue, police are seeking the identity of a man and woman who they believe may be able to assist with inquiries.

The man is described as being of South American appearance, about 178cm tall and with an athletic build.

The woman is described as being about 150-160cm tall, with a thin build, and has a tanned complexion with blonde / grey hair.

Inquiries under Strike Force Groove are ongoing, which includes offshore inquiries being led by the AFP.