‘Australia’s most wanted man’ deported from Turkey

By 1news.co.nz

Comanchero boss Mark Buddle has been arrested in Australia after fleeing the country in 2016.

Mark Buddle.
Mark Buddle. (Source: Video screenshot via Nine News.)

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Crime, Nigel Ryan said the 37-year-old was arrested in Darwin on Wednesday after being deported from Turkey.

He is accused of importing more than 160kg of cocaine into Melbourne in May last year.

“The AFP was well placed to respond to the man’s return due to the progress of an ongoing AFP criminal investigation, and the AFP’s strong global law enforcement and intelligence networks,” Ryan told reporters in Canberra.

Mark Buddle in Australian Federal Police custody in Darwin.
Mark Buddle in Australian Federal Police custody in Darwin. (Source: Australian Federal Police.)

Buddle will face the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday when federal police will apply to extradite him to Victoria.

He will face two charges of allegedly importing the cocaine, which was estimated to have a street value of AU$40 million.

Each count carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

In a television news report Nine News described Buddle as Australia’s “most wanted man”.

Assist Comm Ryan said police will allege Buddle used the ANOM app, which was set up by authorities to pose as a safe encryption messaging service for organised crime figures on the dark web.

He publicly revealed for the first time the existence of a transnational offshore organised crime taskforce, which had targeted Buddle.

“Australians who think they can hide offshore in perceived safe haven … take this as a warning,” Assist Comm Ryan said.

“The AFP will be relentless in pursuing you, we are dedicated and we are focused.”

The charges stem from Operation Ironside, which monitored communications on the encrypted network criminals thought was secure but was being monitored by the AFP and the FBI.

More than 250 people have been charged in Australia under the operation.

No charges have been brought in the US, where privacy laws prevented arrests.

Lawyers in South Australia, representing clients charged under Operation Ironside, have recently argued evidence obtained from the encrypted communications should be excluded.


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