Accused drug lord Mostafa Baluch is on his way back to Sydney after a Queensland court approved his extradition to NSW.
Baluch’s bid for freedom ended when he was found hiding in a grey Mercedes concealed in a shipping container being transported on the back of a truck.
The fugitive had been on the run from police when he was nabbed during a botched bid to cross the Queensland border on Wednesday morning.
Sixteen days earlier, he cut off an ankle monitor while on bail and sparked “one of the largest fugitive hunts in the country”.
Police allege he was planning to flee overseas from Queensland.
Queensland officers searched dozens of trucks over the past few days, zeroing in on the transport after noticing the container wasn’t properly secured.
After a night in the Southport Watchhouse, Baluch’s extradition hearing was held on Thursday.
Unvaccinated for COVID-19, Baluch remained in isolation and unable to appear in court so listened to the proceedings by phone.
Lawyer Nicholas Andrews consented to the extradition application without objection, with Baluch expected to return to Sydney later in the day.
He is expected to return to NSW under police escort to Sydney Central Court.
Baluch was last seen in Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches on October 25, days after being granted bail.
He was released on strict conditions, including $4 million surety on his waterfront home at Bayview.
Baluch is charged with a string of drug offences related to a 900kg shipment of cocaine into Australia that had a street value of $270 million but will also face charges over his breach of bail.
The man who was driving the truck in which Baluch was found – who police say owns a transport company – was also arrested.
The 46-year-old has been charged with doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice and denied bail.