Darren Mohr lived a life of luxury — Rolls Royce, Monaco, Superyachts. You’d find all this and more if you browsed his Instagram account (now deleted). That was before he was swept up in a cocaine bust by Australian authorities.
The 42-year-old was arrested Christmas Day as he walked down a pedestrian footpath in Sydney and stands accused with 14 other men of being a part of Australia’s largest cocaine cartel.
Police uncovered 1,100 pounds of coke, with a street value of $15 million, on a boat in Sydney’s Parsley Bay. The bust was the product of a three-year investigation with officers surveilling members of the alleged cartel sometimes for days on end.
“From my perspective, the success of this operation has been the tenacity of the entire team and all the officers involved. They have been extraordinary,” said police investigation coordinator Detective Chief Inspector Jason Smith of the New South Wales Police Department in an interview with the Telegraph.
Police followed the men to more than 100 meetings, where they would speak in code and plot cocaine trafficking with encrypted BlackBerrys. The operation used fishing boats to smuggle cocaine into Australia from South America via the Sydney Fish Market.
According to police, in the runup to the bust, the cartel members allegedly discussed maps, routes, distribution, and recruitment to move more than a ton of cocaine. Arrests were also made in Queensland and Tasmania, expanding the drug conspiracy far beyond Sydney.
The arrests were a joint effort between the New South Wales Police, Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Border Force. Those arrested include a 1980s Australian rugby star, a Sydney businessman, and two commercial fisherman. One New Zealand citizen was also caught up in the sting.
The men face life in prison if convicted; Mohr was denied bail at a hearing on Wednesday.
He posted photos and videos of a life bought, apparently, with drug money. In one photo he flashes a Hublot wristwatch worth $17,000; in another he lounges on Versace pillows, a huge black dog at his feet, a macaw on his shoulder. In an ironic twist, the cocaine recovered by police was wrapped in Giorgio Armani branding.