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Monday, 29 December 2008

supergrass, who has provided evidence against accused murderer Tony Mokbel and corrupt Victorian drug squad detectives, was extradited to Victoria

The supergrass,has provided evidence against accused murderer Tony Mokbel and corrupt Victorian drug squad detectives, was extradited to Victoria from the Netherlands on Boxing Day.gangland supergrass alleged to be the head of a drug trafficking syndicate spanning three continents has told a court that he fears for his safety.Australian Federal Police (AFP) allege the man, 41, headed a drug syndicate operating out of Australia, Canada and the Netherlands by conspiring to import cocaine using a large network of couriers who would swallow parcels of the drug.Police say the extradition brings to an end a two-year international operation, spanning three continents.

The supergrass appeared amid high security at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday behind a protective shield and flanked by security personnel.

He told the court he feared for his safety and successfully argued that his name and image should be suppressed from media publication."The biased reporting that has occurred in the past has endangered my safety and that of my family," the supergrass said.He then complained to Victoria's chief magistrate Ian Gray that a court sketch artist was continuing to draw his picture despite the order.At one point, the supergrass took his shirt off and put it over his head to prevent the artist from drawing his picture.After some brief argument over the suppression order, the case was adjourned until January 8 when the supergrass' lawyer will be available to attend court.Tim Morris, AFP's national manager, border international, said on Monday that the effort and persistence of his organisation and its international law enforcement partners in Canada, Thailand and the Netherlands had disrupted a global drug trafficking syndicate."The commitment by these AFP investigators and their international counterparts led to the arrest of a key player in this global drug syndicate," Assistant Commissioner Morris said in a statement."The syndicate targets people who are vulnerable, either financially or because of their own drug dependency, to participate in the extremely risky and dangerous method of swallowing drug parcels for concealment from authorities."Police said that, so far, 12 people connected to the syndicate had been arrested in Australia and overseas.The supergrass has been in custody in the Netherlands since his arrest in December last year.He was tracked to the Netherlands with the help of Dutch police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.The man was escorted back to Australia by AFP and Victoria police.It has been reported the supergrass was instrumental in bringing down Victoria's corrupt police drug squad in 2001.The supergrass also reportedly taped a conversation with Tony Mokbel for police.


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