Dean Williamson with a photograph of a 20kg cocaine haul found inside the old safe at the Customs House on the corner of Sydney and River St, Mackay. The site is now Dean Williamson Dental. Picture: Heidi Petith
Dean Williamson with a photograph of a 20kg cocaine haul found inside the old safe at the Customs House on the corner of Sydney and River St, Mackay. The site is now Dean Williamson Dental. Picture: Heidi Petith

Flashback: $20m of cocaine busted in Mackay safe

In the rear of a more than 100-year-old building in Mackay’s CBD is a six-inch thick steel door guarding a walk-in safe.

It was inside that safe at the Customs House on the corner of Sydney St and River St that customs officers discovered 20 1kg plastic-wrapped blocks of cocaine in 1996.

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The haul, worth about $20 million, had been smuggled ashore from the bulk coal carrier Doce River off Hay Point.

Three Brazilians were jailed for 20 years, 19 years and 15 years.

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This story was thanks to Dean Williamson, the current custodian of the heritage-listed Customs House — now occupied by Dean Williamson Dental.


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