The boss of one of Australia’s biggest motorcycle gangs has been extradited from Turkey to face criminal charges in his home country.
Mark Buddle – head of the Comancheros and sometimes described as Australia’s most wanted man – was taken into custody at Darwin Airport on Wednesday.
He will face charges of importing drugs – allegations he is yet to respond to.
Mr Buddle fled to the Middle East in 2016 after he was named as a person of interest in a murder investigation.
The 37-year-old spent time in Dubai before settling in northern Cyprus, which does not have an extradition treaty with Australia, according to local media.
He was expelled from the Turkish-controlled territory in early July because his presence was “inconvenient in terms of public peace and security”, the interior ministry said.
From there he went to Turkey, which does have an extradition treaty.
Mr Buddle is accused of importing cocaine with a street value of A$40m ($27m, £22m) into Melbourne in 2021. He is facing two charges, each carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The Australian Federal Police say Mr Buddle orchestrated the shipment using an app secretly monitored by their officers and the FBI in the US.
Police have said Mr Buddle is also a person of interest in the shooting murder of a Sydney security guard in 2010.
Mr Buddle reportedly took over leadership of the ‘bikie’ gang – as such groups are known in Australia – in 2009, after then leader Mick Hawi was jailed over a fatal brawl with another gang at Sydney Airport.
Hawi was later shot dead outside a gym in Sydney in 2018.