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Bikie boss extradited to Melbourne amid ‘security concerns’

Fugitive Comanchero boss Mark Buddle has been extradited from Darwin to Melbourne over allegations he imported $40 million worth of drugs.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed the 37-year-old touched down in the Victorian capital this morning.

“AFP officers have escorted a man, 37, on a chartered flight from Darwin to Melbourne this morning to face two charges for allegedly importing cocaine worth about $40 million,” a statement said.

AFP officers escorted Mark Buddle on a chartered flight from Darwin to Melbourne this morning.
AFP officers escorted Mark Buddle on a chartered flight from Darwin to Melbourne this morning. (AFP)

Buddle is expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today where he will be charged with two offences.

Each carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Mark Buddle is expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court today.
Mark Buddle is expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today. (AFP)

Buddle’s extradition to Melbourne was originally delayed amid “security concerns”.

The Comanchero’s leader was arrested by Australian Federal Police at Darwin airport on Wednesday, six years after fleeing the country.

The arrest came a day after his deportation from Turkey.

AFP revealed Buddle had been a target of a top-secret, three-year investigation, which was set up to bring home Australia’s most wanted criminals.

Buddle was a user of the AN0M mobile phone system, which the AFP and FBI had been operating in secret before making 500-plus arrests in a worldwide takedown.

Mark Buddle was escorted on a charter flight to Darwin from Turkey and will face court today.
Mark Buddle was arrested at Darwin Airport on Wednesday, six years after fleeing the country. (AFP)

AFP Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said Operation Ironside had tracked encrypted communications showing cocaine would be shipped from Hong Kong to Melbourne and Sydney.

“This investigation has been going for a significant amount of time,” Ryan said.

Buddle’s “complex” arrest, Ryan said, would deal a serious blow to drug syndicates operating in Australia and offshore.

More than 250 people have been charged in Australia under Operation Ironside.

No charges have been brought in the US, where privacy laws prevented arrests.