Alleged abalone trafficker extradited

7 September 2012

An alleged South Australian abalone trafficker has been arrested in northern Western Australia and extradited back to SA to face charges.

Chase Steven Mackwell, formerly of Port Lincoln, was apprehended by PIRSA Fisheries Officers with three other local men in February 2010 for illegally trafficking Abalone.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Director of Operations, Peter Dietman said Mr Mackwell initially appeared in the Port Lincoln Magistrates Court but later failed to appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest on 2 August this year.

“In collaboration with SAPOL, WA Police and WA Fisheries Officers, Mr Mackwell was located in Exmouth and arrested by WA Police on Tuesday 28 August,” Mr Dietman said.

“Officers from SAPOL and PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture travelled to Carnarvon WA for his appearance in Court and successfully applied for him to be remanded into their custody and returned to South Australia to face the charges.

“It will be alleged that the men were located by Fisheries Officers at Cape Donnington near Port Lincoln in 2010 taking and possessing a large quantity of Abalone for a commercial purpose, some of which were under the legal size limit."

Mr Mackwell was returned to SA on Thursday evening and appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday. He was remanded to appear in Port Lincoln along with the other alleged offenders later this week.

The trafficking of Abalone is one of the most serious offences and carries a penalty of $100,000 or four years imprisonment.
Current estimates place the illegal take and trafficking of Abalone as high as 40 tonnes a year.

The matter is continuing before the Port Lincoln Magistrates Court.

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