A man suspected of masterminding one of the biggest heroin imports in Australian history has been arrested at Sydney Airport after authorities deported him from Turkey.
Federal Police allege that 35-year-old Guy Habkouk arranged for almost 350 kilograms of heroin to be imported into Sydney in December 2020. He was charged after arriving at the airport on Saturday morning.
According to police, Sydney man Habkouk, who was living in Thailand when he was allegedly orchestrating drug smuggling, was living in various countries abroad until Turkish authorities arrested him in January.
They will claim Habkouk has “extensive connections to transnational organized crime groups that helped facilitate this.” [the drug] Import,” according to a statement from the Australian Federal Police.
Habkouk was charged with importing a commercial quantity of cross-border drugs, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He is scheduled to appear in court in Parramatta on Sunday.
Another Sydney man has been arrested in the alleged drug bust in 2021. He’s still on trial.
Police launched an investigation in December 2020 after Australian Border Force officers in Sydney allegedly discovered the heroin hidden in a shipment of vertical mixers that had arrived by air from Malaysia.
AFP said at the time the 347.9 kilograms of heroin seized had an estimated value of US$156 million and the equivalent of more than 1.1 million drug deals on the street.
AFP’s head of transnational operations Richard Chin said Operation Gain officials had told Turkish authorities that the suspected orchestrator was believed to be under their jurisdiction this year.
“This arrest is a testament to our close partnership with the Turkish authorities, who continue to demonstrate their strong commitment to creating a hostile environment for organized crime in Turkey and ensuring these groups cannot operate,” he said.
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