Australian motorcycle gang boss extradited from Turkey to face criminal charges

Mark Buddle, the head of one of Australia’s biggest motorcycle gangs, has been extradited from Turkey and will face criminal charges back home.

Mr Buddle, 37, who is the chief of the Comancheros, was arrested by Australian federal police at Darwin airport on Wednesday, after being deported from Turkey a day earlier, reported 9 News.

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

Mr Buddle is facing two charges of importing cocaine, which was estimated to have a street value of AUS$40m (£22m). Each count carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

In 2016, he fled to the Middle East after he was named as a person of interest in a 2010 murder investigation of a security guard.

He stayed in Dubai before settling in northern Cyprus, which does not have an extradition treaty with Australia, according to local media.

But in early July, he was expelled from the Turkish-controlled territory.

The interior ministry said he was expelled because his presence was “inconvenient in terms of public peace and security”, reported BBC News.

On Wednesday, he appeared in court via telephone as the Northern Territory Local Court granted an order for him to be extradited to Victoria.

He remained at a police station during the hearing due to security concerns.

“Normally, of course, someone appearing in court would be either present in court or on the video from the prison, but the court has received information the police have some security concerns,” chief judge Elizabeth Morris said.

Robert Welfare, Mr Buddle’s attorney, said in court that he had been instructed not to oppose the extradition order.

Ms Morris in her order said that he will be held at a correctional facility near Darwin until he is transferred to face court in Victoria by 10 August.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) assistant commissioner Nigel Ryan said Mr Buddle was a user of the AN0M mobile app that was being operated by the AFP and the FBI in a worldwide operation that resulted in over 500 arrests under Operation Ironside – a secret, three-year investigation into organised crime.

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