An Irishman and an Englishman have been jailed for more than six years after a big bust on the popular Mount Isa-Darwin drug highway.
Police have located drug dogs and extra police in Katherine because of its location on the crossroads between states.
Englishman Tommy Ransley, 31, who was the leader of the group and Irishman Stephen Donnelly, 37, were given jail time after admitting supplying drugs for commercial use.
Donnelly, who moved to Australia in 2011, admitted to being "an absolute idiot" in court having been arrested as part of a four-month long operation.
NT police said the pair were part of a drugs syndicate that contributed “significantly to the Darwin cocaine and MDMA market”.
Darwin Supreme Court heard how the pair paid French model Sebastian Ducros, 24, and Darwin local Marcus Hansch, 41, to pick up 5000 ecstasy tablet and almost $800,000 worth of cocaine from Mount Isa, Queensland, before taking it back to Darwin in October last year.
They hid the haul in noodle pots in a storage shed and police moved in on Ransley as he went to pick up his goods before Donnelly's house was raided.
The operation was carried by the Organised Crime Taskforce Nemises in late 2017 and police said the group had played a regular part in importing drugs from Europe over the previous 12 months and that they contributed “significantly to the Darwin cocaine and MDMA market”.
“The operation identified a sophisticated syndicate that transported MDMA and cocaine from the United Kingdom to Darwin,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Stringer said at the time.
“Police allege that on October 8, two males traveled to Mount Isa where they collected a package containing drugs.
“The pair then traveled back to Darwin on 11 October and dropped the package at a Darwin CBD storage shed. They were arrested shortly after.
“A third male attended the shed and collected items from the package. Upon doing so, members from Taskforce Nemesis and the Territory Response Group arrested him.
“The package was found to contain 1.2 kilograms of MDMA pills and 127 grams of cocaine.
“Two search warrants were then carried out at two Darwin residences where a fourth man was arrested. During these warrants, police seized five grams of MDMA along with a number of electronic devices.”