Massive $1 billion drug haul washes up on island after yacht crash

A massive haul of illicit drugs found on a tiny island off Geraldton in Western Australia, along with two foreign men accused of trafficking them, is so big that precise testing and weighing continues.

French national Antoine Dicenta, 51, and British man Graham Palmer, 34, are accused of running their yacht aground on a reef near Stick Island in the Houtman Abrolhos archipelago and then fleeing in a dinghy to Burton Island about seven kilometres away.

About $1 billion worth of cocaine washed up on an island off Geraldton, Western Australia, after a yacht ran aground on a reef. Pictured are the drugs.
About one tonne of illicit drugs washed up on a West Australian island after a yacht ran aground on a reef. Source: AAP / WA Police

Police received tip-offs on Monday from members of the public, including the fishing community, about the stricken vessel and the unusual movements of its crew.

Officers pounced on Tuesday, arresting the men and finding 40 bags partly hidden under seaweed containing about one tonne of suspected drugs including cocaine and ecstasy.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson told reporters the drugs had an estimated street value "in the order of $1 billion".

He said the men allegedly sailed across the Indian Ocean, but work continued with international authorities to confirm where they came from.

The pair faced court in Geraldton on Thursday and were remanded in custody to appear again on September 20.

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