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Aussie fisherman lead police to 680-mln-USD drug haul
From:Xinhua  |  2019-09-05 16:05

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SYDNEY, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- A fisherman in Western Australia (WA) have led police to a 1 billion Australian (680 million U.S.) dollar drug haul, after tipping off authorities when they noticed the crew of a stricken yacht acting suspiciously.

According to police, a sea search and investigation was sparked when a 15-meter yacht named Zero drifted onto a reef near the Abrolhos Islands about 60 km west of Geraldton.

Combing the area and examining the vessel, officers found over one ton of suspected illicit narcotics that were packed into about 40 bags.

Preliminary tests revealed the substances to be cocaine and ecstasy.

Facing court on Thursday after their arrest on Tuesday, a 51-year-old French national and a 34-year-old British national were charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs.

鈥淭he fishing community of Geraldton played a significant role in this detection and seizure and maintained regular contact with police as this matter unfolded,鈥?WA Police Force Commissioner Chris Dawson said.

鈥淭hese people have helped protect Western Australia鈥檚 borders on this occasion and we are grateful for their efforts.鈥?/p>

鈥淲e have also engaged with our international law enforcement partners, including the National Crime Agency and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as both accused men are foreign nationals and the movements of the yacht are of interest to us.鈥?/p>

With the drug bust taking place in such a remote part of the country, Australian Border Force Regional Commander for Western Australia, Rod O'Donnell, said the detection highlights the valuable role that community members can play when helping law enforcement agencies.

鈥淚t also demonstrates the ability of Australia鈥檚 State and Federal law enforcement agencies to collaborate and respond quickly and effectively to suspicious incidents, even in remote locations,鈥?he said.

If found guilty, the two men could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under Australian law.