The plane raided at Albion Park last week was a CIA aircraft carrying a nuclear device and piloted by a secret agent - at least, that's what various conspiracy theory websites worldwide would have us believe.
The mysterious raid captured the attention of the Illawarra, but has also spawned some wild speculation online.
The Mercury has discovered several online reports lodging wild claims about the aircraft, including that it was a "stealth plane" owned by the CIA that was carrying "a highly sophisticated nuclear device".
The plane, N224HR, arrived at the Albion Park airport on June 27. Federal police and members of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad raided it on July 8 and 9, reportedly finding 35 kilograms of drugs.
Enter the world wide web.
The Mad Cow Morning News site, with a mission statement spruiking "investigative reporting into drug trafficking, 9/11, and state-sponsored crime", claims the aircraft was a stealth plane perhaps owned by the CIA.
com, boasting of its position as "One Of The Top Ranked Websites In The World For New World Order, Conspiracy Theories And Alternative News," headlined its story: "Israeli Satellite Downed Over Australia After CIA Nuke Discovered On Plane."
It links the plane to the piece of space junk that lit up Australian skies last week - mistaken by many for a meteor. This, apparently, was actually the wreckage of an Israeli satellite shot down while conducting surveillance on N224HR.
"The FSB report further details that this mysterious plane was under the control of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service," WhatDoesItMean.com claims, quoting a report that cannot be found on Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service) website.
Proving how quickly any "information" can spread, the story has been taken up by a variety of conspiracy-based news sites, which pride themselves on not being shackled like the mainstream media. Nor are they bound by the requirement to check the bona fides of the claims: the original suspect text has been repeated verbatim.
Police played a straight bat to the latest sensational claims.
"Detectives don't supply a running commentary," a spokesman said.
This story was always ripe for conspiracy tales.
It had a mystery plane, a dramatic tarmac raid, public curiosity pricked and silence from the police as to what was on board.
And while the State Crime Command still won't say what was removed in the raid, or whether anyone was arrested, the presence of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad shows the seriousness of the matter.
We do know that the plane started from Punta Gorda, Florida, on April 9.
And we know that while it was registered to the Oregonian Aero Club, this organisation does not seem to exist anywhere other than the office in Wilmington, Delaware, that holds the registration details.
The leadership of the real Oregon Flying Club says it has never heard of such an organisation, and the Oregon state police say they have no information on the aero club.
Snow Goose International put out a statement via Facebook saying it flew the plane from Florida, via some smaller US airports, to the Philippines, with stops in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Marshall Islands.
The Mercury has tried to contact Snow Goose International director and former British and Australian air force pilot Dave Baddams. But Mr Baddams responded through his lawyer, saying he did not want to comment further. The Mercury is not aware of any credible allegations about Mr Baddams being a secret agent.
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