Cocaine haul ignites the search for the Australian trio who were rescued at sea

a picture from above of the three men and the cooler floating in the water

Two weeks after they were saved at sea, one of the three men is being looked into for alleged drug trafficking.

The 36-year-old man was detained in Darwin and was scheduled to show up in court on Thursday, according to police.

The group was discovered on February 1st, clinging to an esky cool box off Western Australia (WA).

They allegedly told police that they were out fishing when their boat capsized.

However, authorities later found 365kg of cocaine in at least two locations, which led to a search for the men. They may have taken part in an international drug shipment, according to suspicions.

According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the man who was arrested, Aristides Avlontis, is accused of bringing in a large quantity of a drug that is restricted at the border.

The capsized boat's registered owner, Mate Stipinovich, 49, and Karl Whitburn, 45, are still being sought by police. The two are reportedly in WA.

In a press release, the authorities initially praised the trio after their rescue near Eclipse Island, 17 km south of Albany in Western Australia, saying that their situation "highlighted the importance of wearing a lifejacket and carrying an emergency beacon.".

The AFP was contacted and an investigation was launched after the WA police quickly identified contradictions in the trio's account.

A beach 54 kilometers (33 miles) west of Albany was discovered with a black plastic-wrapped package containing parcels of cocaine six days after the men were rescued.

The following day, an overturned cabin cruiser with eight similarly wrapped packages, each containing about 40kg of cocaine, was also found.

Police suspect that the drugs were taken from the ocean and transported by boat to the shore. Nobody knows how the drugs got into the ocean in the first place.

The drug seizure would deal a "significant blow" to a "well-resourced syndicate," according to AFP Acting Commander Graeme Marshall.

According to the AFP, the community has avoided drug-related harm totaling more than $235 million as a result of this seizure, including related crime, medical expenses, and lost productivity.

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