They Were Heroes Until The Police Found Out They Were Drug Smugglers!

Authorities commended a group of men after they were discovered earlier this month clinging to a cooler in the water off Western Australia. They are now suspected of transporting 800 pounds of cocaine.


Mate Stipinovich, 49, Karl Whitburn, 45, and Aristides Avlontis, 36, stated they were fisherman whose boat capsized when they were rescued on Eclipse Island on February 1. This location is about 10 miles south of Albany. According to the BBC, when the matter first came to light, authorities commended the group, saying it “highlighted the significance of wearing a lifejacket and carrying an emergency beacon.” That was a few days prior to local police discovering 800 pounds of cocaine.

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The first instance of cocaine washed ashore on a beach west of Albany in a plastic-wrapped package. According to 9News, a 23-foot boat that had capsized off Peaceful Bay the day after was recovered with eight similar items inside.

According to ABC Australia, it was one of the biggest cocaine busts in the state’s history. According to Acting Commander Graeme Marshall, quoted by the BBC, the Australian Federal Police “estimates this seizure has saved the community more than $235 million in drug-related harm, including associated crime, healthcare, and loss of work.”

Following their rescue, the men were sought after by the AFP on suspicion of smuggling drugs over the ocean to shore in order to distribute them throughout Australia. Stipinovich and Whitburn, who live in Perth, are thought to be somewhere in Western Australia, but Avlontis was arrested on Thursday in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, according to ABC.

He will be returned to Western Australia for extradition in order to answer to a charge of bringing in a commercial amount of an illegal substance.

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