The sister of the alleged drug kingpin known as ‘Australia’s Pablo Escobar’ has claimed he may have been kidnapped – as it’s revealed he bragged to associates about having $30million in savings and ‘running’ the country’s cocaine market.
Mostafa Baluch allegedly fled for parts unknown on Monday night after skipping bail, cutting off his ankle bracelet and fleeing his home on Sydney’s northern beaches, triggering an international search.
Police allege the fugitive was the sole financier of a shipment of cocaine with an estimated street value of at least $AUD270million.
Authorities fear the missing restaurateur may have fled NSW onboard a private jet from Bankstown Airport.
However, the 33-year-old’s sister Wagma Baluch believes her brother has been kidnapped and ‘doesn’t have a cent to his name’.
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
Former restaurateur Mostafa Baluch, 33 (pictured), had been charged with financing a 900kg shipment of cocaine to Australia and was granted bail just days ago
‘How do we know that he’s not kidnapped?’ Ms Baluch told The Australian.
‘I just hope that he’s somewhere safe and I really hope that no one’s hurt him.’
She shut down suggestions her brother had escaped on a private jet and said he had been cuddling all of his nieces and nephews in the days before he vanished.
However she said she noticed the fugitive didn’t seem ‘mentally well’.
‘He wasn’t scared. He was very quiet, like normal. He’s not a talkative person. And he knew he had a court appearance,’ she said.
Another family member described his location as the ‘million-dollar question’.
‘We all want to know. We’re all a working family,’ the relative said. ‘Everyone is grieving, reputation is on the line.’
Police say the 33-year-old has been actively contacting underworld contacts to arrange an escape flight out of NSW.
Court documents have revealed Mr Baluch communicated on the supposedly impenetrable app ANOM used by thousands of underworld figures, unaware it was being closely monitored by police.
One police transcript recorded the alleged drug kingpin bragging to an associate saying ‘We control market’.
Another, while allegedly considering the impact of a cocaine shipment on market prices, Baluch pledged to an associate: ‘I can pass 30 million of my own money.’
Pictured: The final images of ‘Australia’s Pablo Escobar’ Mostafa Baluch before he disappeared on Monday after cutting his court-ordered ankle bracelet
The family of an alleged drug kingpin who is on the run have held crisis talks on the balcony of the sprawling home where he was last seen
Baluch – who has been in custody since June – was granted bail on Friday despite opposition from police who argued he posed too great a risk to the community.
His strict bail conditions included not leaving his Bayview home except to report to Mona Vale police station, offering the property, worth an estimated $4million, as surety and wearing his monitored ankle bracelet.
Police allege Baluch cut off the device and fled his home at 10:45pm on Monday.
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.
‘To cut a bracelet off your ankle which has been imposed by the court shows a very serious intent to flee,’ he said. ‘But we do believe that he is still in Australia’.
It is not clear where he might have travelled, but an international manhunt is underway.
Detectives on Thursday released two pictures of Baluch in the hours leading to his disappearance, the first showing a smiling Baluch 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.
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
Police allege Baluch (pictured) was the sole financier of a shipment of cocaine worth a total street value of $270 million
It comes as the alleged drug kingpin’s family have demanded their ‘privacy’ be respected as they hold crisis talks.
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.
They were seen huddled on the balcony of the $4 million sprawling home, which they will lose unless Baluch gives himself up as it was pledged as his bail where he was last seen, while cleaners tidied up inside.
Baluch is believed to have spent his last weekend before absconding at several 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 since he allegedly fled the state on Monday night.
A younger woman inside the home agreed, saying 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.
Two cleaners arrived carrying buckets and squeegees about midday for their regular scheduled service
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
The two young women joined Baluch’s mother for crisis talks on their front porch moments later.
Baluch’s mother appeared distressed as she put her head in her hands while speaking with the younger women.
But it was business as usual by Wednesday 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’s parents, who arrived from Afghanistan, are well liked in the tight-knit Northern Beaches community.
Detectives have reason to suspect he fled to Bankstown Airport, where a private jet was waiting to fly him out of NSW
Baluch pictured outside his home in Mona Vale on Monday hours before the international drug lord disappeared – with authorities fearing he’s left NSW on a plane
Back in 2000, they bought the Lucky and Pep’s pizzeria in Newport. The restaurant still operates as a family business with three of their children.
Baluch followed his parents in opening his own restaurant, Cervo, in Northbridge, where he also worked as a chef.
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
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.
Police Minister David 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
‘I’m sick of having to remind the legal fraternity that we’re not dealing with parking tickets, we’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.’
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.
The Australian Federal Police and its international law enforcement partners are also involved.
‘We’ve got the technology, we’ve got the manpower, we’ve got the international law enforcement credentials but of course we’ve also got to explain to some of those international law enforcement organisations how he was lost,’ Mr Elliott said.
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
Police ‘work their guts out to keep our community safe’ and had been ‘let down by the system’, he said.
‘We’re dealing with international drug lords who are associated with things like terrorism or kidnapping or prostitution,’ Mr Elliott 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’.
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.