An alleged drug kingpin who cut off his ankle bracelet and went on the run when confronted with a potential life prison sentence bragged he had links to the Taliban.
Mostafa Baluch disappeared from his sprawling family home in Bayview on Sydney’s Northern Beaches late on Monday night while on bail for international drug importation offences.
His family is set to lose their home and potentially businesses after offering a $4million surety that he would stay put.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal that as a teenager at Narrabeen Sports High School, Baluch often boasted about overseas connections, including links to the Taliban.
At the time, his peers thought it was nonsense, ramblings of a teenager desperate to seem ‘cool’.
‘He would tell us his relative was a child soldier for the Taliban,’ one friend said.
Mostafa Baluch disappeared from his sprawling family home in Bayview on Sydney’s Northern Beaches late on Monday night while on bail for international drug importation offences
Mrs Baluch, a retired high school teacher, owns the complex where family’s restaurant, Lucky and Pep’s, and a cafe also run by relatives are located. An LJ Hooker and law firm rent offices within the complex, worth $3.7million
The family of an alleged drug kingpin who is on the run held crisis talks on the balcony of the sprawling home where he was last seen
‘We thought it was bulls**t.’
Sometimes he would add to the fanciful stories, claiming his relative ‘fought against the Russians’ and was involved in direct combat.
When he wasn’t sharing stories about the Middle East, friends say he ‘was a pretty normal kid’ who enjoyed playing soccer and talking about sport with his mates.
The high school accepted students from across the Northern Beaches who were gifted sportsmen and women, but Daily Mail Australia understands Baluch was enrolled as it was his local high school.
‘He was just zoned to come here, I don’t think he was there for a sport,’ a friend said.
The 33-year-old was granted bail on Friday despite opposition from police that he posed too great a risk to the community.
Police Minister David Elliott said it was a mistake to let Baluch free, saying they’re dealing with ‘international drug lords who are associated with terrorism, kidnapping and prostitution, but more importantly want our kids to take drugs that will kill them.’
Court documents allege Baluch believed he ‘controlled the market’ for cocaine in Australia. In separate papers, he allegedly boasted about having more than $30million at his disposal to spend on importing drugs.
At least four of Mostafa Baluch’s relatives – including his immigrant parents – were still at the Bayview family home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Wednesday
Mostafa’s sister Wagma Baluch (left) is adamant her brother has been kidnapped despite police alleging he has fled Sydney after cutting off his ankle monitoring bracelet
Baluch’s parents immigrated to Australia from Afghanistan to give their children a better life.
They settled on the Northern Beaches and slowly began opening restaurants from 2000, some of which are still open.
A close relative, who did not want to be named, told The Australian they’re ‘a working family’ and extremely concerned their reputation will be left in tatters after Baluch’s stunt.
‘We all want to know [where he is]. Everyone is grieving… It’s embarrassing, reputation is on the line.’
They’re set to lose everything they’ve ever worked for as police insist on seizing the assets that were offered as a surety for Baluch’s bail.
The family home – where at least four of his relatives including his parents were holed up on Wednesday – will likely be lost, while there are question marks over a large commercial property in Newport owned by Baluch’s mother, Aminullah.
Detectives initially had reason to suspect he fled to Bankstown Airport, where a private jet was waiting to fly him out of NSW. They are now investigating whether he is still in NSW
His family are set to lose everything they’ve ever worked for as police insist on seizing the assets that were offered as a surety for Baluch’s bail
Mrs Baluch, a retired high school teacher, owns the complex where family’s restaurant, Lucky and Pep’s, and a cafe also run by relatives are located.
An LJ Hooker and law firm rent offices within the complex, worth $3.7million.
Baluch is believed to have spent his last weekend before absconding at farewell barbeques with family and friends.
As tradesman came and went to work on the house next door, Baluch’s elderly father told Daily Mail Australia he and his family have no idea where the fugitive could be.
Detectives initially believed he fled the state on a private jet out of Bankstown Airport, but they’re now investigating lines of inquiry which lead them to believe he is still in NSW.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Thursday: ‘There was intelligence that perhaps he flew out of Bankstown, which doesn’t appear to be correct.’
Pictured: The final images of ‘Australia’s Pablo Escobar’ Mostafa Baluch before he disappeared on Monday after cutting his court-ordered ankle bracelet
‘There’s also intelligence that he is travelling south at the moment towards Victoria so we have officers on high alert’.
A younger woman inside the home said the family ‘know nothing’ before another girl said they were dealing with the aftermath of the matter as a family.
‘We just want everyone to respect our privacy,’ she said.
Baluch’s sister Wagma suggested he may have been kidnapped when approached by The Australian.
‘I just hope that he’s somewhere safe and I really hope that no one’s hurt him. My Mum is crying, she’s in a mess.’
Mrs Baluch was seen on her front porch for crisis talks with the two young women in her home on Wednesday.
She appeared distressed as she put her head in her hands while speaking with the younger women.
Two cleaners arrived carrying buckets and squeegees about midday for their regular scheduled service
Police allege Baluch (pictured) was the sole financier of a shipment of cocaine worth a total street value of $270 million
But it was business as usual later that afternoon. Two cleaners arrived carrying buckets and squeegees about midday for their regular scheduled service.
The women, dressed in black and white uniforms, spent at least two hours inside the home as the occupants moved around the home to stay out of their way.
Baluch followed his parents in opening his own restaurant, Cervo, in Northbridge, where he also worked as a chef.
But the venture didn’t last long, and he’s now facing life in prison accused of masterminding a drug importation syndicate the likes of which NSW Police has ‘never seen before’.
His strict bail conditions included not leaving his Bayview home except to report to Mona Vale police station and offering the property, worth an estimated $4million, as surety.
Baluch’s mother appeared distressed as she put her head in her hands while speaking with the younger women
Baluch cut off his ankle monitor at the golf course behind his sprawling home in Bayview
By 10.45pm Monday, police allege Baluch had cut off his ankle monitor tracking device and fled his home.
Detectives on Wednesday released several pictures of Baluch in the hours leading to his disappearance.
The first of the pictures, taken during the day, shows Baluch smiling easily in Mona Vale.
A second image, taken after he was on the run, was CCTV footage of Baluch in a black car with Queensland number plates, reportedly flying down the M4 Motorway near Croydon – 50 minutes’ drive from his house – about 2.30am.
Two other people were also in the car.
Baluch pictured in Mona Vale on Monday hours before the international drug lord disappeared – with authorities fearing he’s left NSW on a plane
Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, head of NSW Police organised crime, alleged Baluch was offering money to criminal networks to fly him out of the state.
‘But we do believe that he is still in Australia,’ he said.
It is not clear where he might’ve travelled, but an international manhunt is underway.
For locals in his quiet neighbourhood – home to the likes of silver screen star Rebecca Gibney and her husband Richard Bell – there’s an absolute disbelief that he was ever freed.
A local cafe owner said he can’t work out why a magistrate ever agreed to bail when it put the community at such a heightened risk.
He hadn’t seen Baluch in months and assumed he’d been keeping a low profile.
Despite Baluch’s imposing stature, the cafe owner says he never had a reason to dislike or fear him.
The 33-year-old was granted bail on Friday despite opposition from police that he posed too great a risk to the community
The last sighting of Baluch shows CCTV footage of him flying down Pittwater Road near Bayview in his black Range Rover at around 10:30pm that evening
‘He was always polite. Quiet, though. He said hello, got his coffee and would always go,’ he said.
He was floored when cops arrived at his waterfront cafe asking questions about the alleged drug dealer.
Police returned on Tuesday morning when they learned Baluch had fled to again ask questions.
Baluch was arrested as part of the international AN0M raids, and has since been described as ‘Australia’s Pablo Escobar’.
In October 2020, the US Navy intercepted a boat off the coast of Colombia with 870kg of cocaine on board. In April 2020, a second boat was intercepted with 900kg of cocaine near Ecuador.
A $4million home in Sydney’s exclusive Northern Beaches (pictured in June) will be seized by police after the owner of the property allegedly cut off his tracking device and fled
A black Range Rover with Queensland plates was left behind, reportedly used to flee
Police allege Baluch was the sole financier of the second shipment of cocaine, which had an estimated Street value in Australia of at least $270million.
Officers determined both shipments were destined for Australia as part of a conspiracy to supply 3,000kg in total to NSW – more cocaine than NSW residents buy in an entire year.
The estimated street value is potentially $900million.
Mr Elliott said police involved in the case were ‘devastated’ and he was furious Baluch had been granted bail.
‘To say that I’m infuriated would be an understatement… Because quite frankly this guy was our Pablo Escobar,’ he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
‘I’m starting to get sick of these magistrates and judges. They don’t consider the danger which police present to them and I don’t think they’re reflecting the sentiment of the community they’re there to serve.’
Two golfers were pictured at the course after police revealed he dumped his tracking device in the area
Police ‘work their guts out to keep our community safe’ and had been ‘let down by the system’, he said.
‘This guy was (allegedly) part of an international racket with levels of drugs we have never seen before. The police expressly advised the court ‘he is a bad guy’,’ Mr Elliot said.
Detectives are now appealing for any dashcam footage that could help identify the movements of the Range Rover with a Queensland registration plate reading 861CU3.
Anyone who has video and had been in the Mona Vale or Bayview areas near Pittwater Road from Monday until Wednesday or the M4 motorway near Croydon early on Tuesday morning are being urged to come forward.
Baluch faces life in prison if he is captured and convicted.
Mr Elliott said he had spoken to Police Commissioner Mick Fuller about the difficulties in capturing the escapee. ‘This will be a tough job for the NSW police – make no mistake,’ he said