A pair of alleged drug traffickers found themselves stuck between an angry seal and Australian police as they tried to reach an inflatable dinghy with around $1 billion worth of illegal drugs. Authorities were sent to investigate a yacht that ran aground on a reef near Geraldton, which sits off the coast of Australia.
When officials found the boat, it was abandoned, and they noticed the dinghy, which had an outboard motor, was missing. They began a search and rescue operation, believing the occupants of the boat might be trouble.
While authorities launched planes to search for the missing men, a fisherman reported that somebody was hiding in the bushes on Burton Island, which is just over four miles from the reef. When rescuers went to the island they discovered that the two men, identified as Antoine Robert Dicenta and Graham Kurt Palmer, were trying to smuggle illegal drugs.
Authorities found 40 bags filled with around $1 billion worth of what they believe to be ecstasy, cocaine and methamphetamine partially covered in seaweed on the beach.
When the two men saw the police they tried to run back to their dinghy but were stopped dead in their tracks by an angry seal.
"When they got on the island, the guys made a run for their tender and there was this big, huge seal asleep between them and the tender," Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Service vice commander Damien Healy said.
All the commotion woke up the seal it began bellowing at them and blocked their escape route. Authorities moved in and took the two men into custody.
"The guys basically had the choice of going through the seal or getting arrested and they ended up choosing getting arrested," Healy said.
The two men were charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
Authorities praised the local fishermen who helped with the search, which ultimately resulted in the arrest of the two men.
“The fishing community of Geraldton played a significant role in this detection and seizure and maintained regular contact with police as this matter unfolded,” Western Australia police commissioner Chris Dawson said. “These people have helped protect Western Australia’s borders on this occasion and we are grateful for their efforts.”
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