Eastern Suburbs man linked to missing Mostafa Baluch charged with role in cocaine conspiracy

Police claim the Sydney man had helped import more than 20kg of cocaine into Australia worth at least $ 6 million on the street.

A man from Sydney’s eastern suburbs has been charged with attempted smuggling of cocaine along with missing restaurateur Mostafa Baluch.

The 34-year-old, from Rose Bay, was to appear in front of Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday, charged with four counts of importing cocaine through air freight shipments.

The arrest, which is part of Operation Ironside, came after Australian federal police launched an investigation in early 2020 when three separate shipments containing four, nine and 14 kilos of cocaine, respectively, were seized.

Police claim that the Rose Bay man was not only part of the syndicate responsible for importing the drugs, but also that he told other members that he “had access to” an Australian border force member who could provide information on the status of the shipments.

In a statement, AFP said they would claim the man had “access to publicly available parcel tracking sites to determine the status of the shipments” and had reported his findings to other union members.

Police will allege that the man used a phone under a false name to track 62 shipments, six of which turned out to contain border-controlled drugs.

“The six shipments were found to contain 14 kg of cocaine, 8.2 kg of heroin and 4.6 kg of methamphetamine,” AFP said in a statement.

In a search warrant in the man’s house Friday, police seized three encrypted devices.

The arrest comes as his alleged accomplice, Baluch, remains on the run after his ankle bracelet, ordered by the court, was removed on Monday.

Baluch was charged with the alleged cocaine import and was arrested in June. He was conditionally released on $ 4 million bail last week.

In the wake of his disappearance, NSW Commissioner Mick Fuller said the release of Baluch on bail had been the wrong decision.

“I have been reluctant to criticize judges and judges because they have a hard job, but it is clear that he was wrong,” he said.

Baluch is accused of being the financier behind a 900kg shipment of cocaine to Australia worth an estimated $ 270 million on the street.

NSW Police have urged anyone who sees Baluch, or has information about his whereabouts, to contact them immediately.

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