Australian police have thwarted a billion-dollar international drug smuggling operation, reportedly with the help of a giant seal.
The pair allegedly sailed across the Indian Ocean to Western Australia with the stash of cocaine, methylamphetamine and ecstasy but ran their yacht aground near the city of Geraldton and fled on a dinghy to Burton Island.
Officers searched the island on Tuesday and found French man Antoine Robert Dicenta, 51, and 34-year-old British man Graham Kurt Palmer, as well as more than one tonne of illegal drugs in 40 bags hidden beneath seaweed on the island, Western Australia Police said.
The men allegedly attempted to flee the officers – but were stopped in their tracks after they woke a sleeping seal who “jumped up with its big chest out and bellowed at them,” the Australian Associated Press reports.
Damien Healy, vice commander of the local volunteer marine rescue service, told ABC Radio the men “basically had the choice of going through the seal or getting arrested”.