A prominent Australian businessman has been extradited from Serbia, facing numerous drug offences in connection to his alleged involvement in Australia’s second largest cocaine seizure.
Rohan Arnold, 43, arrived in Australia today after he was arrested with two other Australians at a Belgrade hotel in January.
In April last year, police seized more than 1.28 tonnes of cocaine concealed in pre-fabricated steel in a shipping container coming from China.
Police estimate the drugs have a street value of $500 million and a purity of 78 per cent.
Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Stephen Dametto said police believed those involved in the importation were “high up in the supply chain” of a syndicate that had links around the world.
“The simple fact is that a 1.28 tonne cocaine shipment can only be financed and facilitated by a significant and well resourced crime group,” he said.
“We believe it has links with not only Australia but around the world.”
Police allege Mr Arnold used links he had through overseas businesses to facilitate the importation of cocaine.
“One thing we are not suggesting is that companies he has worked for are any way involved,” Detective Superintendent Dametto said.
He said it was “worrying” that such large drug seizures were becoming “the new normal in Australia”.
“Unfortunately they’re coming more frequently and in larger quantities.
“I think part of that has to do with the insatiable demand that exists in Australian society, but a key priority for us [is] to target the high end individuals, because we believe if we stop that sort of supply then we are reducing the harm to Australia.”
Mr Arnold is facing a range of charges, including importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, conspiring to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs.
He is expected to appear at Central Local Court later today.
The AFP were unable to provide information on two other Australians arrested in Serbia, as their cases are still before the Serbian courts.