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Man tied to cocaine diver case denied bail

By Finbar O'Mallon
James Blee appeared at Parramatta Local Court via video link on Saturday. (AAP)

An alleged drug importer tied to the discovery of a dead diver near a $20 million cocaine haul in Newcastle has been formally refused bail.

James Lake Blee appeared at Parramatta Local Court via video link on Saturday morning after being extradited from Queensland overnight.

He was arrested on Wednesday allegedly trying to flee Australia for Singapore.

Blee's lawyers made no application for bail and his case has been adjourned for Friday at Central Local Court. He was formally refused bail.

Police said the 62-year-old was charged with importing a large commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and large commercial drug supply.

Blee is a super-yacht tour operator in Cairns where he runs North Queensland Superyacht Marine and Tours.

His arrest comes as NSW Police released CCTV images of two people wanted in relation to the death of the diver found near bricks of cocaine at Newcastle port.

Police said on Friday the pair had entered the country illegally via ship.

One is a man described as South American in appearance, 178cm tall and of athletic build.

The other is a woman, described as thin, tanned, about 150 to 160cm tall and with blonde or grey hair.

Police on Tuesday revealed the diver - identified as a foreign national - was found unconscious in the water at the Port of Newcastle and was unable to be revived.

He was found near 54 kilograms of cocaine and it is believed he was trying to retrieve the drugs.

He had sophisticated equipment, including a "rebreather" apparatus that allows the user to breathe underwater without any telltale bubbles rising to the surface.

The police investigation into the diver, which includes federal and immigration authorities, is now also working with foreign officials.

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Dive Deeper:
Superyacht owner tied to Port of Newcastle cocaine haul refused bail
James Blake Blee appeared at Parramatta Local Court via video link on Saturday morning after being extradited from Queensland overnight.
Police seek man and woman as investigations continue into cocaine diver's death in Newcastle
Police release CCTV images of two people they believe can help with inquiries over the death of a diver and…
Man extradited to NSW over $20m Newcastle port cocaine haul
Police have released images of two people they want to speak with in connection to a diver who died with…
Pair on run in cocaine diver mystery
Police are on the lookout for two people they believe are linked to the discovery of a dead diver near…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Police probe whether 'spectacular' Indonesian drug haul is linked to NSW's dead cocaine diver
An investigation is underway into whether a shipment of drugs discovered near a dead diver in the Port of Newcastle…
Yacht captain James 'Jimmy' Blee, allegedly linked to dead cocaine diver, arrested trying to board international flight
A man allegedly linked to the death of a diver — along with the discovery of millions of dollars worth…
Get all your news in one place