Turkish authorities have arrested Australian fugitive Hakan Ayik alongside 36 others involved in an alleged international organized crime network.
Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Hakan Ayik was arrested in Istanbul after a raid
Mr Yerlikaya said Ayik was allegedly involved in drug trafficking, manslaughter, looting and money laundering.
Ayik has been on NSW’s most wanted list for more than a decade.
Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Thursday that Ayik was arrested in Istanbul after a raid.
The Turkish government released video of the arrests showing armed special agents and narcotics agents knocking on the doors of apartments and homes, arresting various men and seizing handguns and stacks of foreign bank notes.
The video includes an image of a man named Ayik, kneeling, handcuffed and shirtless with a large tattoo on his shoulder that matches his previous images on social media.
Mr Yerlikaya said Ayik was allegedly involved in global drug trafficking, manslaughter, looting and money laundering.
Istanbul’s public prosecutor has filed a complaint against the Comanchero motorcycle gang, alleging it laundered its assets in Turkey.
Mr Yerlikaya said Ayik, also known as Reis, and Duax Hohepa Ngakuru, had been the leaders of the criminal group since at least last year.
Ayik is also wanted by the United States, while Ngakuru, who was also arrested, is wanted in New Zealand, Mr Yerlikaya added.
Dubbed the “Facebook gangster” in Australia, Ayik has been on New South Wales’ most wanted list for “supplying large commercial quantities of drugs” for more than a decade.
He fled Australian police in 2010 while in Hong Kong, allegedly in connection with a $230 million heroin importation.
The Australian Federal Police say they are aware of reports that Ayik was arrested by Turks.
“The AFP thanks the Turkish National Police for carrying out one of the most significant operations targeting suspected serious transnational organized criminals, some of whom are accused of trafficking illicit drugs into Australia and around the world,” said the organization in a press release.
“Turkey is a regional leader in the global fight against serious transnational organized crime.”
In the press release, the AFP indicates that it has agents stationed in Turkey.
“The AFP provided support to the Turkish National Police through Operation Gain and the AFP station in Ankara,” they said.
“The AFP, through its international command, continues to work with its international partners to combat serious transnational organized crime.”