Comanchero Mark Buddle: Bikie under heavy security as ex-wife Mel Ter Wisscha Hooters past revealed
Federal agents fear Comanchero bikie boss Mark Buddle could be busted out or assassinated as he heads to Melbourne to face court over a major drug bust – as racy new images surface of his ex-wife’s life before she met the alleged crime kingpin.
Sources have told Daily Mail Australia that Australian Federal Police are determined to keep Buddle’s movements secret out of fear his bikie mates might make a daring escape attempt or kill him.
In a carefully manicured media stunt, Buddle was pictured being frogmarched into a police station in handcuffs after being secretly deported to Australia from Turkey.
The nation’s most wanted man was apprehended by AFP agents over alleged drug importation offences, after he touched down in Darwin on Tuesday morning.
While AFP hierarchy are rumoured to be wallowing in the high profile bust, sources have suggested agents on the ground are keen to avoid a media circus around Buddle.
The 44-year-old’s ex-wife Mel Ter Wisscha, with whom he has children, admitted last month the pair split up over a year ago and she hasn’t seen him in 12 months.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal an insight into her distant past working as a promotional model for restaurant chain Hooters – smiling at a red carpet event alongside celebrities.
Ms Ter Wisscha was pictured at the premiere of Will Ferrell’s Taladega Nights in Sydney in 2006, posing with Hollywood megastar Chris Hemsworth and Australian Olympic legend Kieren Perkins.
Buddle’s ex-wife Mel Ter Wisscha (right) smiles with Chris Hemsworth at the premiere of Taladega Nights in Sydney in 2006
Buddle was walked into the station backwards, surrounded by at least five Australian Federal Police officers
Bikies are no strangers to pulling off daring hits, with one-time Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin shot dead by a sniper from more than 300 metres away.
The 35-year-old man, who cannot be named due to court orders, shot Martin at the Perth Motorplex in Kwinana on December 12, 2020 and last year was sentenced to 20 years in prison over the hit.
AFP will allege Buddle imported more than 160kg of cocaine – which has an estimated street value of $40million – into Melbourne in May, 2021.
Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin was shot dead by a sniper from more than 300 metres away
A video released by AFP showed Buddle arriving at a Darwin police station in an unmarked white four-wheel drive.
An officer sitting next to Buddle in the backseat jumped out before the Comanchero kingpin was ordered to exit and put his hands on the top of the vehicle.
While one officer checked his handcuffs, another placed their arm under his armpit and put their hand on his shoulder, to secure Buddle in a hold.
A second officer repeated the procedure on Buddle’s other arm, before he was walked backwards into the police station.
At least five officers in face masks could be seen standing around him as he was checked in to the facility, where he was placed in cell to appear in a Darwin court.
Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said Buddle, who was the subject of an Interpol red notice, arrived in Darwin after Turkey made an ‘independent decision’ to deport him.
‘He was escorted by Turkish authorities by charter flight to Darwin where he was taken into AFP custody and arrested,’ Assistant Commissioner Ryan told reporters at a press conference.
‘The AFP was well place to respond to his return due to the progress of an ongoing AFP investigation and the AFP’s strong global law and enforcement intelligence networks.’
During his court appearance, AFP will apply to have him extradited to Victoria, where he is facing two charges – one count of importing and another of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
Each offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Security in Victoria is again expected to be tight until Buddle can safely appear before the court.
The AFP will allege that Operation Ironside South-Britannic linked the man to a transnational criminal syndicate operating out of Asia and Europe, which used dedicated encrypted communications to coordinate the shipment of the cocaine from Hong Kong to Melbourne via Sydney.
Five people were arrested in Australia in May 2021 under the same operation.
Buddle became leader of the infamous Comanchero motorcycle gang back in 2009
A motorcade follows the coffin of Rebels bikie Nick Martin to Pinnaroo Cemetery in Perth in 2020
Buddle left Australia in 2016 and has spent time in Dubai, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus
The AFP alleges that in mid-2021 it identified Buddle as the sender of encrypted communications about the alleged cocaine import, leading the AFP to launch Operation Gain-Orion to target his activities.
In October, AFP engaged with the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions in preparation to seek a warrant for Buddle’s arrest, with a full brief of evidence submitted in January.
A Melbourne Magistrates Court issued an arrest warrant in relation to the alleged cocaine importation in mid-July, with an Interpol Red Notice put out days later.
Assistant Commissioner Ryan said Buddle had been a target of Operation Gain, a transnational off-shore disruption task force, since March 2021.
‘This is the first time the AFP has publically revealed the existence of this taskforce, which targets Australia’s biggest organised crime threats offshore, disrupts their criminal activities and ultimately ensures these alleged criminals face prosecution,’ he said.
‘Operation Gain harnesses the AFP’s extensive international network, sophisticated capabilities, and Australian law enforcement partners, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.’
Mark Buddle pictured with his former wife and the mother of his two kids Mel Ter Wisscha
Assistant Commissioner Ryan said the AFP had strong global partnerships and recently hosted Turkish authorities in Canberra, where crucial intelligence was shared between agencies.
‘Australians who think they can hide offshore in perceived safe havens peddling drugs into Australian communities, destroying lives and making huge profits – take this as a warning – the AFP will be relentless in our pursuit to ensure you face justice.’
It has emerged he and Ms Ter Wisscha had split up when he moved to Northern Cyprus in July 2021 and she moved to Bodrum.
Mel Ter Misscha (right) smiles alongside a colleague at the red carpet event for Will Ferrell comedy Taladega Nights in 2006
‘I haven’t seen Mark for a year. He’s the father of my children. They see him, I don’t,’ Ms Ter Wisscha told The Daily Telegraph in July.
‘I haven’t left Turkey.
‘My kids have gone to and from (Northern Cyprus) but I have stayed away.’
Images from 2006 show an almost unrecognisable Ms Ter Wisscha wearing the iconic Hooters outfit, posing for pictures with A-list celebrities attending the screening of the 2006 Ferrell film.
Buddle’s ex-wife and a group of other promo models smile for pictures with each other and those in attendance, which included Thor star Hemsworth and 1500m Olympic champion Perkins.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms Ter Wisscha for a comment on the images and her former husband’s arrest.
Mel Ter Wisscha spent three days in an immigration detention centre outside Istanbul last week after more than a dozen police officers stopped her as she tried to leave a resort in Bodrum, where she had been living.
It is believed that her former links to Comanchero boss Buddle are related her capture.
A source close to Ms Ter Wisscha told the Daily Telegraph their relationship was over and that she was ‘very upset’ at being detained.
Ms Ter Wisscha (left) smiles alongside Australian Olympic legend Kieren Perkins at the Taladega Nights premiere in 2006
Mel Ter Wisscha posted this photo from a daybed resort in Bodrum Turkey after Buddle’s arrest
‘She was leaving a hotel in Bodrum and about 15 police pulled her over and began going through all her stuff, and checking passports,’ the source said.
‘They made her sign something in Turkish, even though she couldn’t understand it, but she’s not under arrest – she kept asking them ‘am I under arrest’ and they said no.
‘Basically they’ve said to her that she’s a risk because of her husband. She told them they aren’t together and haven’t seen each other in a year, but they took her to a police station and then to an immigration centre.
‘She’s very upset and very confused.’
After being questioned, Ms Ter Wisscha was then taken to a detention centre in south-western Turkey. The centre is secured by armed guards around the perimeter and holds adult men and women, children and disabled people. It has a capacity for 88 detainees.
Senior government sources said they were aware she had been detained and she said she had been deemed a foreigner who was inconvenient for public order or security.
The newly appointed national president of the Comanchero is Sydneysider Allan Meehan (right), who was mentored by Buddle (left)
Her family are said to have been using visits of 15 minutes a day to support her and to drop off fresh clothes.
Sources also revealed Buddle married a woman called Ozge, a few months after he arrived in Northern Cyprus.
According to the sources, Buddle’s marriage to the woman – one of his former employees – is ‘fake’ and the pair were living together at one of his three properties in the Iskele area of Kyrenia, also known as Girne, where he was arrested.
Assistant Commissioner Ryan said Ozge was being detained in Turkey by local authorities, for a matter separate to the AFP investigation.
Buddle became leader of the infamous Comanchero gang in 2009 after the former leader, Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi, was jailed for a fatal brawl at Sydney Airport.
He left Australia for Dubai in 2016 with his glamorous partner Ms Ter Wisscha and their two children.
Buddle is reportedly in a new relationship with a woman called Ozge, who is one of his former employees
The AFP alleges Buddle moved overseas to avoid the scrutiny of Australian law enforcement.
Buddle then flitted between a range of countries including Greece, Turkey and Iraq before settling in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus where he received a residency permit on the grounds his ‘high income’ would bring wealth to the territory.
Australian authorities had been working tirelessly behind the scenes to extradite Buddle from Turkey.
The development comes after a tumultuous few weeks in Europe for Buddle after he was last month held at gun point and arrested in Turkey on visa violations.
After initially receiving a residency permit, authorities later ruled that the his presence was ‘inconvenient in terms of public peace and security’.
That led to a top-secret mission involving the National Turkish Coast Guard Command, local police and Interpol agents raiding his alleged hideout.