Australia says drug suspect tried to flee country by Sea-Doo


SYDNEY (AP) — A British man wanted on drug charges has been thwarted in a daring bid to flee Australia for Papua New Guinea on a motorized personal watercraft.

Australian police said the 57-year-old man set out Monday on his Sea-Doo craft from the northern tip of Australia’s Queensland state, carrying enoughfuel to make the 140-kilometer (86-mile) trip across Torres Strait, and possibly armed with a crossbow.

But after an Australian Border Force vessel was deployed to search for him, he was located only a few kilometers (miles) from his destination at Saibai Island, an Australian territory near the southern coast of New Guinea.

Police said the man was wanted for drug-related offenses in Western Australia, and would be sent there.

A joint statement from Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Queensland Police said the man was picked up partly due to information from various “community members” in Queensland and neighboring islands to the north about his likely travel path.

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The statement said the arrest in one of Australia’s furthest corners was testament to the police force’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,” it said.

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