Australian Fugitive Mostafa Baluch Arrested After Massive Manhunt

Australian police arrested suspected drug smuggler Mostafa Baluch on Nov. 10 when he attempted to cross the New South Wales (NSW) border into Queensland.

Police found Baluch, 33, hiding in a gray Mercedes inside a shipping container of a truck when it was crossing the NWS-Queensland border at about 1 a.m. local time.

An officer knocked on the container after realizing it was not properly secured.

Baluch, who had been on the run since October, knocked back.

“We suspect that the person… thought it was a drop off point — that he was being signaled that it is safe. Of course, he didn’t realize it was a constable,” Organized Crime Squad Commander Rob Critchlow told reporters.

Police also arrested truck driver John Kitanovski on charges of allegedly assisting a fugitive.

“Today will be considered one of the great days of NSW Police,” state Police Minister David Elliott said.

Police had been searching for Baluch since he disappeared from his home at Sydney’s northern beaches on Oct. 25 while he was on bail on charges of attempting to import 900 kilograms of cocaine from Ecuador.

Baluch allegedly cut off his ankle bracelet that had been tracking his whereabouts, sparking the massive manhunt conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Police also alleged that Baluch had a senior position in a criminal network.

According to Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, Baluch sparked “one of the largest fugitive hunts” in Australia, which came at an “extraordinary” cost to the police.

Baluch appeared before the Southport Magistrates Court after his arrest. His extradition hearing will be held on Nov. 11, according to 9News.

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