A frenzied dragnet for accused fugitive drug boss Mostafa Baluch ended with a knock-knock joke. The alleged narco skipped bail and fled, leading Australian police on a 16-day search before his capture this week.
The Mob Reporter here with news of Baluch’s rise and apparent fall in an ingenious police sting, how he escaped and became Australia’s most wanted, and then was found hiding in a Mercedes, inside a shipping container, being carried across a border on a truck.
Baluch, 33, became Australia’s most-wanted when he cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet on Oct. 25, 2021, just four days after his release on bail while awaiting trial on serious drug smuggling. A government minister called him Australia’s Pablo Escobar. He is accused of masterminding and financing a 900-kilo load of cocaine that was seized by the U.S. military off the coast of Ecuador.
You might remember the narco case from my video in June involving a guy doing wild gambling on video poker machines at the Star Casino in Sydney — chewing through $100 million in one week. Here is a link to that video: https://youtu.be/6u5iLSvvUFg
That’s quite a leap from his past life, working in a pizzeria in suburban Sydney owned by his parents, who emigrated from Afghanistan.
It’s often said Australian bandits love their Nikes, and Baluch didn’t disappoint: He was last seen wearing a white Nike t-shirt, black Nike shorts and white Nike sneakers, the New South Wales police alert said.
Baluch was one of the many underworld figures who fell into the net of one of the great police stings of the decade — the AN0M encrypted phone sting. AN0M was an encrypted phone system built to allow elite criminals around the world to communicate with each other in secret.
The problem for them was it was really an ambitious police operation. The entire AN0M system from start to finish was secretly run by the FBI and Australian Federal Police.
I reveal a lot more about AN0M in a previous video here: https://youtu.be/sg1FbtXYvK8
He was stopped at the state border crossing into Queensland. Police looked at a shipping container, on the back of the truck. One of them knocked — and someone inside knocked back. Inside the container was a gray Mercedes SUV. Hiding in the back of it was Baluch. Baluch was flown back to Sydney in a police plane — closely guarded, of course.
At a recent court appearance, Baluch didn’t ask for bail. It’s going to be difficult to get a judge to agree to that again.