Of all the ways you might expect to bust a drug smuggling operation, the assistance of a large seal probably wouldn’t crack your top 10, yet that’s what happened on Burton Island, a small island off the west coast of Australia.
When a yacht was found empty of occupants and dinghy on Stick Island, a search party was launched to find and rescue the troubled crew. The yachters, French and British nationals, were, however, not in trouble at sea, but on nearby Burton Island, allegedly hiding over $688 million worth of cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamine under seaweed.
When they were spotted trying to allegedly hide from the rescue aircraft looking for them, authorities made their way to Burton Island and pursued the pair. As the suspects were trying to escape the police and get to their dinghy, they woke up a huge bellowing seal who blocked their way.
Damien Healy, Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Service vice commander, said, “The guys basically had the choice of going through the seal or getting arrested and they ended up choosing to get arrested.”
In addition to the two men aboard the yacht, three others who had been awaiting the delivery have been arrested as well.
Forty bags containing up to one ton of illicit drugs were found on the island.