A British man wanted on drug charges was arrested Monday after fleeing Australia for Papua New Guinea armed with a crossbow.
The 57-year-old man, whose name has not been released to the public, was trying to make the 86-mile trip across the Torres Strait from Australia to Saibai Island, an Australian territory near the coast of New Guinea, the Associated Press reported.
He was stopped by the Australian Border Force, the Australian Federal Police and the Queensland Police just a few miles short of his destination. He was found on a motorized personal watercraft on the mudflats on the eastern side of Saibai Island, authorities said.
The man will now be sent back to Western Australia – where the drug charges were filed.
Authorities also worked with locals in a joint effort to capture the fugitive. People alerted police in Bamaga, Queensland, that a man who was possibly armed and carrying other supplies took off on a “jet ski” from Punsand Bay. As the man traveled toward Papua New Guinea, people called into authorities in real time as he passed in the water or reached different islands, the Guardian reported.
When asked about the charges against the man, Jock O’Keeffe of the Queensland Police told the Guardian, “We wouldn’t have gone to this sort of effort if they weren’t significant charges.” O’Keeffe confirmed to The Guardian that the man was in possession of a crossbow during his journey, but he no longer had a weapon when he was arrested.
In a statement issued from the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Border Force and the Queensland Police, the law enforcement authorities all said the “arrest sends a strong message to would-be fugitives.”
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