Third man extradited over 1.28 tonne of cocaine

AN AUSTRALIAN national will front a Sydney court today, accused of financing and organising the importation of one of the biggest shipments of cocaine in the nation's history.

The Australian Federal Police will allege that the 35-year-old man was part of an organised crime syndicate operating out of Serbia, which orchestrated the importation of a staggering 1.28 tonnes of cocaine inside pre-fabricated steel in April 2017.

 

Australians arrested in Serbia over $500 million cocaine shipment. Picture: Serbian Interior Ministry
Australians arrested in Serbia over $500 million cocaine shipment. Picture: Serbian Interior Ministry

The street-value of the 2,576 blocks of cocaine seized is estimated to be around $500 million.

The Australian national - who had been living in the United Arab Emirates - stepped off a plane at Sydney Airport last night after being detained by Serbian authorities on January 16 and extradited to Australia from Belgrade.

He is understood to be the third and final man extradited from Serbia in connection with the cocaine seizure under the AFP-led Operation Amorgos.

A 43-year-old NSW man was extradited to Australia in March 2018, while a 49-year-old man was extradited to Australia in August 2018.

Australian Federal Police acting Manager Organised Crime, a/Commander Peter Bodel, said that the drug seizure was one of the biggest in Australian history.

"The cooperation we have received from or colleagues in Serbia has been critical in initiating prosecutions against people we will allege played a key role in one of the largest shipments of cocaine ever seized in Australia," he said.

"The AFP seeks to make a real impact by targeting organised crime at its upper management levels."

The 35-year-old will appear before Sydney Local Court today to answer numerous charges, including but not limited to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, and conspire to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs.

 

The Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia, where three Australians were arrested over alleged cocaine syndicate.
The Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia, where three Australians were arrested over alleged cocaine syndicate.

 

A Second man, 49-year-old David Campbell, was extradited from Serbia to Sydney. Picture: AFP
A Second man, 49-year-old David Campbell, was extradited from Serbia to Sydney. Picture: AFP


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