Australia’s most wanted fugitive has been arrested in Turkey in dramatic scenes as partof a major crackdown aimed at disrupting the Comanchero bikie gang.
Hakan Ayik was one of dozens of underworld figures who were arrested in Istanbul by local police on Thursday morning local time, 13 years after he fled Australia in 2010.
Ayik also known as ‘Big Hux’,became one of the world’s most wanted criminals after the FBI and AFP tracked his global drug empire through the AN0M encrypted messaging platform.
The arrest was announced by Ali Yerlikaya, Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs, in a post to X, formerly Twitter.
In a dramatic video of the morning raids, Ayik can be seen shirtless with his hands behind his back while surrounded by heavily armed officers.
Hakan Ayik has finally been arrested, 13 years after he fled Australia
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The raids also resulted in the arrest of Australian underworld figures Hakan Arif, Baris Tukel and Erkan Dogan and the seizure of an estimated A$250million.
Mr Yerlikaya stated that authorities from Australia and the US had taken out an Interpol red notice on Ayik.
Arif, Tukel and Dogan also had red notices taken out on them by authorities from New Zealand, Australia and the United States respectively.
‘Gang leaders, along with Turkish citizen organisation managers and members, as well as foreign national organisation members, come to our country and continue their criminal activities,’ Mr Yerlikaya’s post reads.
‘It has been determined that they are trying to launder the income they obtained from crimes in our country.’
Mr Yerlikaya alleged that Ayik had continued operating international drug trafficking rings from his command post in Turkey, understood to have links to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
Australia’s most wanted man, Hakan Ayik (pictured) was arrested by Turkish Police in Istanbul on Thursday
An AFP spokesperson confirmed they were aware of Ayik’s arrest and commended Turkish Police for the raids.
‘The AFP acknowledges the Turkish National Police for undertaking one of the most significant operations targeting alleged transnational serious organised criminals, some of whom are accused of illicit drug trafficking to Australia and around the world,’ the statement reads.
‘Turkiye is a regional leader in the global fight against transnational serious organised.
‘AFP is posted in Turkiye and has witnessed the Turkish National Police’s determination in disrupting, arresting and charging alleged organised crime figures.
Sources close to federal and state police told the Daily Telegraph that there is little chance of Ayik being extradited to Australia due to his Turkish citizenship.
The publication was also told by sources within Australia’s criminal underworld that Ayik isn’t expecting to be returned to Australia and is instead preparing for a prison stay in Turkey.
Ayik’s wealth is estimated to be at more than AUD$800 million as the head of the Comancheros and the drug cartel.
Hakan Ayik is alleged to have become one of the world’s largest drug importers through his leadership role at the bikie gang
Ayik has managed to evade being detained in recent years despite the arrests of his close associates in the last 12 months, Mark Buddle and Duax Ngakuru.
Authorities started to close in on the kingpin after his assets were freezed by Turkish officials in July.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said at the time that detaining Ayik was of utmost importance.
‘He’s living the high life, he’s fat and rich off the drug sales that are coming into Australia, killing our kids,’ Asst Comm Ryan said.
The raids resulted in the arrest of dozens of underworld figures and the seizure of an estimated $250million AUD (pictured, Turkish Police raids)