Three more charged over huge WA drug haul

Some of the drugs seized. Picture: WA Police
Some of the drugs seized. Picture: WA Police

THREE men from the US, Britain and NSW stand accused of conspiring to possess a massive one-tonne drug haul recently found on a tiny West Australian island.

Three more men have been arrested and charged over a massive $1 billion drug haul that was found on a tiny island off WA after a yacht ran aground, raising suspicions.

Police swooped on Burton Island off Geraldton last week, finding French national Antoine Dicenta, 51, and British man Graham Palmer, 34, allegedly with 1.087 tonne of methylamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy in dozens of bags they had attempted to hide under seaweed.

On Thursday, WA Police said a 45-year-old American man, a 35-year-old British man and a man from New South Wales, 50, had been charged with conspiring and attempting to possess the drugs with intent to sell or supply.

The Australian was arrested at Perth Airport while the other two were nabbed in the CBD on Wednesday, as seen on the security footage.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said it would be alleged they were “the shore party”.

“They were in another boat and they were ready to receive,” Mr Dawson told ABC radio.

“We’ve disrupted an international big drug syndicate here.”

Burton Island. Picture: Supplied

The yacht was stuck on a reef about seven kilometres away near Stick Island and there were initially concerns the occupants of the boat were in trouble at sea, given a dinghy was missing.

As planes searched for them, a crayfisherman saw someone on Burton Island ducking down in a bid to hide in low scrub as aircraft flew overhead, Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Service vice commander Damien Healy recently said.

Mr Healy said when police arrived, Dicenta and Palmer made a run for their dinghy but were thwarted by a huge sleeping seal.

“They woke it up and it jumped up with its big chest out and bellowed at them,” he said.

“The guys basically had the choice of going through the seal or getting arrested and they ended up choosing getting arrested.”

Some of the drugs seized. Picture: WA Police

Mr Dawson had a tip for the pair.

“If you’re in a hot pink shirt don’t try and hide in low scrub.”

Dicenta and Palmer faced court in Geraldton last week and will appear again on September 20.

Lassiter’s next court date is September 26, Jones is due on October 8 and Jackson is scheduled for November 21.

All five men have been refused bail and remanded in custody.