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Australia Mostafa Baluch to remain in prison, bound for Goulburn Supermax, following court hearing

05:16  12 november  2021
05:16  12 november  2021 Source:   smh.com.au

Police 'close behind' alleged drug kingpin fugitive after Sydney raids

  Police 'close behind' alleged drug kingpin fugitive after Sydney raids Mostafa Baluch is on the run after allegedly cutting off his ankle bracelet while on bail.Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow told 2GB police were making progress on the case, and believe Baluch is still in New South Wales after he apparently cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and went on the run on October 25.

Alleged drug kingpin Mostafa Baluch has been formally denied bail in Sydney and will be transferred to Goulburn's Supermax prison in a fortnight after being recaptured by police as he allegedly sought to flee Australia for an overseas haven.

Mr Baluch, who skipped bail on the northern beaches on October 25 and became the target of a nationwide manhunt, was discovered sitting in a Mercedes inside a shipping container on the back of a truck crossing from NSW into Queensland about 1am on Wednesday.

He was detained by Queensland police and then extradited to NSW on a police flight on Thursday, touching down at Bankstown airport in the evening, shackled at the wrists and ankles and wearing prison greens.

Accused drug lord Mostafa Baluch captured

  Accused drug lord Mostafa Baluch captured Police have captured fugitive Mostafa Baluch, who had been the subject of a manhunt after breaching bail on Sydney's northern beaches more than two weeks ago.The 33-year-old was found about 1am on Wednesday, hiding in a grey 4WD Mercedes that was inside a container on a truck travelling from NSW to Queensland.

Mr Baluch, 33, was transported to the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater and charged by police over the bail breach.

He did not make an appearance in a hearing at Central Local Court on Friday, where this time he did not apply for bail and it was formally refused by Magistrate Margaret Quinn. The matter is listed to return to court on December 1.

Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Kevin Corcoran said prison officers were "keeping a very close eye" on Mr Baluch, who is under strict quarantine because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

"He has been placed in a segregation area ... more restrictions than he would be getting than if he were a normal quarantine inmate," Mr Corcoran told 2GB.

He will be tested for the coronavirus and remain at Silverwater for two weeks before he is sent to the maximum security high-risk management centre at Goulburn.

Alleged cocaine smuggler Mostafa Baluch found on truck to Queensland

  Alleged cocaine smuggler Mostafa Baluch found on truck to Queensland Sydney fugitive Mostafa Baluch has been found hiding in a luxury car inside a shipping container after being on the run from police since last month.Police had been searching for the 33-year-old since he cut off a tracking device and disappeared from his home on Sydney's northern beaches last month.

"He will be transferred down there as soon as that quarantine period is over," Mr Corcoran said.

Mr Corcoran said Mr Baluch had been designated an "extreme high-security inmate" the last time he was in custody in NSW, given his apparent capacity to organise an escape.

"We had already identified that this fellow was going to be an issue from a security perspective," he said.

Arrested and charged in June for his alleged role in financing a 900-kilogram cocaine shipment from Ecuador, Mr Baluch successfully applied for bail on October 21 and vanished four days later.

His ankle monitor was removed around 10.40pm in Bayview on the northern beaches and a family property in Newport now stands to be forfeited after it was offered up as $4 million worth of surety in his bail application.

A wealthy restaurateur, Mr Baluch is accused of being a well-connected player in organised crime. Police allege he spoke to associates on the app An0m of having access to $30 million in personal funds and taking control of the local cocaine market before he was arrested, the Herald revealed last month.

Alleged cocaine smuggler Mostafa Baluch arrested after weeks on the run

  Alleged cocaine smuggler Mostafa Baluch arrested after weeks on the run Mostafa Baluch was found hiding in the boot of a Mercedes Benz carried in a container, trying to cross the New South Wales-Queensland border. Mr Baluch was wanted over an alleged $270 million cocaine smuggling operation and had been on the run for two weeks after allegedly skipping bail when breaking free from his ankle security bracelet.The 33-year-old was caught travelling to Queensland at Tweed Heads about 1am this morning in a sting involving AFP, NSW and Queensland police.LIVE NEWS: Eastern states heading for drenching © NSW Police Mostafa Baluch has been arrested at the Queensland/NSW border.

His disappearance prompted criticism of the decision to grant him bail and Attorney-General Mark Speakman referenced the case in this week tasking a high-level government advisory group to examine bail laws for any issues.

Police believe Mr Baluch's plan was to travel from Queensland to Thailand by boat before making his way to Europe, potentially Serbia, to join underworld associates.

If he had been successful in leaving Australia, repatriation could have been extremely difficult.

Police had searched dozens of trucks travelling from NSW into Queensland based on a tip from the Australian Federal Police - said to be based on information from a mysterious and advanced technical capability - that Mr Baluch might be hiding in one.

The truck driver, Jovanco "John" Kitanovski, has been charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly aiding Mr Baluch's escape bid.

Investigators have now turned their attention to a Liverpool-based trucking company formerly owned by Mr Kitanovski and now owned by his wife. Mary Kitanovski is not accused of involvement in the alleged activities of her husband.

Dozens of officers from NSW Police traffic and highway patrol and Transport for NSW swooped on Kit Bros Warehousing and Transport on Thursday and were observed inspecting vehicles and conducting compliance checks.

NSW Police Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, organised crime squad commander said officers were going through Kit Bros "with a fine-tooth comb".

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Mostafa Baluch to remain behind bars after brief court hearing in Sydney .
Mostafa Baluch chose to remain in his cell when a Magistrate decided to revoke his bail days after the alleged drug smuggler was caught hiding in a car on the back of a truck near the Queensland border.The 33-year-old chose to remain in his cell when a Magistrate decided to revoke his bail at Central Local Court in Sydney.

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