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Three more face court over $1 billion Abrolhos Island drug haul

Police have charged three more men over the $1 billion drug bust in the Abrolhos Islands last week.

The trio from the US, New South Wales and Britain have faced a Perth court today. They’ve all been remanded in custody.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson announced the recent arrests on radio this morning.

“We have now just charged another three people – a 45 year-old US man, a 35 year-old British man and a 50-year-old Australian from NSW,” Commissioner Dawson said.

“We will be alleging they are what we call the shore party – in another boat and they were ready to receive.

“We had great support from the community, I am very happy to take credit on behalf of my officers – but we had great help from the fishing sector, the fishing industry, fisheries officer themselves and members of the community.

“It is great police work, no doubt about that at all.

“We are working still internationally, but we have disrupted a big international drug syndicate here.

“And one of the allegations is … might be, is quite bemusing … if you are in a hot pink shirt, don’t try and hide in low scrub.”

The yacht Zero which ran aground at the Abrolhos Islands.The yacht Zero which ran aground at the Abrolhos Islands.
Camera IconThe yacht Zero which ran aground at the Abrolhos Islands.

Two foreign nationals have already been charged over the massive drug bust.

French national Antoine Dicenta, 51, and British man Graham Palmer, 34, are accused of running their yacht aground on a reef off Geraldton last week, then fleeing in a dinghy to Burton Island, where about one tonne of drugs was found half-covered in seaweed.

When local rescuers searched the stricken yacht, 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 the island ducking down in bushes as the aircraft flew overhead. Suspicions were aroused and police were deployed.

WA Police have said their investigation into the drug seizure was ongoing and involved international law enforcement partners, including the US States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Police have since revealed two of the three recently arrested men were found in the Perth CBD yesterday.

The third was arrested at Perth Airport also yesterday.

The three men are Jason Lassiter, a 45-year-old American, British national Scott Felix Jones, 35, and 50-year-old Australian Angus Bruce Jackson.

The 15m yacht Zero run aground near Stick Island 60km west of Geraldton.The 15m yacht Zero run aground near Stick Island 60km west of Geraldton.
Camera IconThe 15m yacht Zero run aground near Stick Island 60km west of Geraldton.Picture: WA Police

Mr Lassiter will face court again on September 26. Mr Jones will reappear on October 8 while Mr Jackson, the only Australian among the five men charged, will come back to court on November 21.

The three men who appeared in court today have each been charged with conspired to possess a prohibited drug other than methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply, conspired to possess methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply, conspired to possess a prohibited drug other than methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply and two counts of attempt to possess prohibited drugs with intent to sell or supply.

Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce said the further arrests were a testament to the various law enforcement agencies working on the investigation.

“From the moment the drugs were located we have worked with our national and international network of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and we are continuing to learn more about where those drugs came from and who was involved,” he said.

“The sheer size and nature of this seizure clearly indicates the involvement of an established criminal network.

“Such criminal networks are not confined to geographic boundaries, and through our interjurisdiction arrangements our investigators and intelligence officers can track their movements and associates further than they ever have been able to before.”

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