Three very ordinary-seeming Canberra men have been arrested in Belgrade, Serbia over ties to an international drug smuggling ring, the Canberra Times reports. The trio have been linked to an incident last year where 1280 kilograms of cocaine, worth around $500 million, were seized from a Chinese container boat that was docked in Sydney.
The men were arrested in a joint operation between local and Australian police during a money handover transaction in a Belgrade hotel lobby. It’s reported they were carrying large amounts of various foreign currencies, as well as some weapons.
Somewhat bizarrely, one of the trio has been identified as ACT businessman Rohan Arnold, who is currently the director of the Western Victoria Livestock Exchange. No offence, but the guy doesn’t exactly seem like an international drug lord. You never can tell, eh?
Arnold’s defence lawyer told The Canberra Times that he was arranging access to his client, presently detained in Serbia, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "If everything is coordinated smoothly and he is not facing charges in Serbia, then we expect him back in the country within four-to-six weeks," he told the paper.
It’s likely that the men will be charged with conspiracy to import commercial quantities of a controlled drug into Australia; the maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.