A UK national wanted for drug-related offences in Western Australia has been intercepted by police and border force officers while attempting to flee the country on a jet ski.
The 57-year-old was seen launching his vessel at Pundsand Bay on Cape York, in Far North Queensland, armed with a crossbow and carrying additional fuel and supplies.
A joint operation between the Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) resulted in the fugitive’s arrest on Monday in the northern Torres Straits islands.
The bust came as a result of a cumulative effort from Queensland Police in Bamaga and community members who identified the man’s travel path and his intention to purchase fuel to facilitate travel to Papua New Guinea.
Through coordination with the Australian Border Operations Centre (ABOC) in Canberra, Maritime Border Command deployed Australian Border Force Cutter vessel, Roebuck Bay, to respond.
Officers located the jet ski and the man on mudflats on the eastern side of Saibai Island, 148 km from where he set off, then detained the individual.
He was then transported to Thursday Island, an additional 140km away, where he was held by Queensland Police, pending his extradition to WA.
His jet ski was towed back to Saibai island.
The Australian Border Force credited the effectiveness of the collaborative joint agency approach in the Torres Strait.
“This is a perfect example of local intelligence sharing, community support, ABOC coordination and our maritime capability, all working together to enable a quick and effective multi-agency response to a situation,” ABF Commander Northern Command Jo Crooks said.
An AFP spokesperson said the arrest of the man was a testament to the AFP’s strong intelligence and policing partnerships.
“This arrest sends a strong message to would-be fugitives – our reach across Australia is second to none and we will use all our contacts and relationships to find you and bring you before a court,” the spokesperson said.
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