MELBOURNE: The alleged boss of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been extradited to Australia and arrested on drug trafficking charges, police said Thursday.
He is expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Thursday to answer a charge of “conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs” after being extradited from the Netherlands.
Tse, dubbed Asia’s “El Chapo” in reference to Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman´s nickname, faces life imprisonment if convicted.
Australian police hailed it as “one of the most high-profile arrests in the history” of the country.
The Sam Gor organization or “The Company” is believed to launder billions in drug money through casinos, hotels and real estate in Southeast Asia´s Mekong region.
Tse was detained at Amsterdam´s Schiphol Airport in January 2021 after a decade-long hunt.
He had been the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.
Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Krissy Barrett said the arrest came after a “very complex investigation.”
“By their very nature, these very senior figures within the syndicates obviously deliberately stay hands-off in terms of the business dealings.”
“That´s why it’s such a significant arrest and why it has taken a fair amount of time.”
Australian police said that the charges relate to a specific 2012-2013 operation transferring drugs from Melbourne to Sydney.
A police sting at the time nabbed 27 people and netted 20 kilos of methamphetamine with a current street value of around US$3 million.
A second man has also been arrested after being extradited from Thailand.
“The hard work of investigators, and the (Australian Federal Police) international network, has enabled these alleged offenders to be charged and face the justice system in Australia,” said Barrett.
Earlier, once one of the world´s most powerful and notorious criminals, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to life imprisonment Wednesday, the mandatory punishment for a host of crimes spanning a quarter-century.
Guzman, the 62-year-old former co-leader of Mexico´s mighty Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in February in US federal court on a spate of charges, including smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.
The much-anticipated hearing in New York capped a dramatic legal saga and saw Guzman wearing a gray suit, lilac shirt, purple tie and trademark mustache somberly take in his punishment.
“There was no justice here,” Guzman declared in Spanish, expressing no regret as he delivered what were likely his final public words before he is taken to a super-max federal prison to live out his days. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)