Drug kingpin Tony Mokbel hires George Pell’s lawyer for freedom bid

Convicted drug kingpin Tony Mokbel could have his bid for freedom heard by Victoria’s highest court in July.

Mokbel has now hired the lawyer who helped Cardinal George Pell quash his conviction in the High Court.

READ MORE: Three family members in Victoria have coronavirus

His defence hopes the betrayal he suffered at the hands of
The Court of Appeal said Mokbel’s case would be heard as a matter of priority.

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Dutch police arrest alleged Asian drug syndicate kingpin | World News

The alleged leader of an Asian drug syndicate and one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives has been arrested by Dutch police.

Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was arrested at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70bn-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade.

Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said Tse was detained without incident at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Friday “based on intelligence we received”.

He is expected to be extradited to Australia after an initial court appearance.

Tse, 57, has lived in Canada, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan in recent years, according to authorities.

According to Australian newspaper The Age, his arrest will also be welcomed by authorities in the US, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and across Europe, places which have all served as markets or supply hubs for his organisation.

The syndicate he allegedly helps control is an amalgam of once-competing Chinese Triad groups that have variously worked with Australian bikies, South American cartels and European crime bosses, the newspaper added.

Australian Federal Police say he is the senior leader of the syndicate – called The Company – and is referred to as “Sam Gor” (Brother Number Three in Cantonese).

In 2019, Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and Pacific representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters that Tse is “in the league of (fellow drug kingpins) El Chapo or maybe Pablo Escobar”.

The AFP did not name Tse in its statement but said the man arrested “is of significant interest to the AFP and other law enforcement agencies”.

“The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime,” the agency said.

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Infamous drug kingpin arrested in the Netherlands

One of the world’s most wanted criminals drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop has been arrested in the Netherlands with the Australian Federal Police playing a major role in the operation.

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White House labels Venezuela’s Maduro cocaine ‘kingpin’ over alleged drug trafficking ties

The White House on Wednesday called out Venezuela and almost two dozen other nations as “major drug transits” or “drug-producing countries,” in an effort to tackle the ongoing drug trade in the U.S. – an issue Trump has attempted to curtail since he took office.

The Justice Department in March already indicted Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro for his alleged involvement in a decades-long narco-terrorism and international cocaine trafficking conspiracy scheme. A $15 million bounty has been placed on Maduro for information that could lead to the arrest of the socialist.

The United States no longer accepts the validity of Maduro’s presidency, instead recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself the true president of Venezuela in 2019.


“The most complicit kingpin in this Hemisphere is the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro,” The White House said in a statement. “He joined a multitude of other regime cronies who are either under U.S. indictment or were sanctioned for drug crimes by the Department of the Treasury.”

Maduro, along with Venezuelan National Assembly member Diosdado Cabello Rondón, were accused of conspiring with Colombian rebels and military members “to flood the United States with cocaine” and use the drug trade as a “weapon against America,” according to the DOJ indictment from March.

Maduro responded to the March indictments by calling Trump a “racist cowboy,” and warned the U.S. against attempting any sort of invasion.

“Donald Trump, you are a miserable human being,” Maduro said during a televised address.


“If one day the imperialists and Colombian oligarchy dare to touch even a single hair, they will face the Bolivarian fury of an entire nation that will wipe them all out,” he added.

Maduro has not yet commented on the U.S.’s most recent attempts to target the socialist country but faces additional international challenges as United Nations’ investigators accused the president and other top officials on Wednesday of crimes against humanity.

The Human Rights Council found that the socialist government wasdirectly responsible for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and illegal detentions of thousands of victims that opposed the regime.

Venezuela is a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which means the findings found in the U.N. report could be utilized by the ICC to prosecute Maduro and other senior leaders.


Maduro is already under increased pressure by the U.S., along with other nations who support Guaidó’s presidency, but with the recent findings they could expect to see increased international sanctions which have already crippled Venezuela’s economy.

Maduro believes the U.S. is trying to overthrow him in order to exploit the massive oil reserves Venezuela contains.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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John Thompson’s ultimatum to drug kingpin Rayful Edmond

In Washington DC in the 1980s, crossing drug kingpin Rayful Edmond didn’t usually end well.

Largely credited with introducing crack cocaine to the US capital, Edmond’s 150-man network was allegedly making $300 million a year moving tonnes of drugs.

In his early 20s, Edmond also loved playing and watching basketball.

In DC there was really only one team in town, college basketball’s Georgetown University.

Coached by John Thompson, the Hoyas — led by Patrick Ewing — won the national championship in 1984 and became an international brand.

They were an even bigger deal locally and Edmond, who was one of the city’s best playground players, loved to sit courtside and mix it up.

But as the Drug Enforcement Administration began to zero in on the flashy, good-looking trafficker, Thompson wanted to put an end to any association between his team and the underworld figure.

Most concerning to the coach were revelations two of his players — NBA-bound centre Alonzo Mourning and DC native John Turner — had been spotted hanging out with Edmond and playing for his playground team.

So Thompson, who had just returned from coaching America to a win in the bronze medal game against Australia at the 1988 Olympics, put word out on the street he wanted to see Edmond.

Not long after, a man linked with the deaths of more than 30 people — earning DC the nickname the “murder capital of the United States — knocked on the door of his office.

Thompson was an imposing figure himself. Standing 208cm tall, he’d been a star high school player in DC before being drafted by the Boston Celtics and winning NBA championships in 1965 and 1966.

After coaching at high school level he took his towering presence to Georgetown, where he ended up coaching for 27 seasons in a Hall of Fame career.

But intimidating young players, opposing coaches and referees and staring eyeball to eyeball with a man like Edmond — who was a fugitive at the time — were two markedly different things.

Still the coach had a point to make — stay away from my players.

“I didn’t get into his background or conduct an interrogation; that’s for the police,” Thompson later described. “I tried to make sure he knew the goals and objectives of my kids, and (tried to) make it very clear to him that I didn’t want anything going on with my kids.

“I had heard the rumours and innuendo, but it’s still an obligation if I hear of something going on to check it out. I figured, ‘He plays basketball, he loves basketball. Let me talk to this man’. My thing is basketball. Let me try and confront this problem immediately.”

Thompson was forced to explain the meeting when Edmond was arrested a few months afterwards.

“I don’t understand this expression of amazement,” said Thompson, about the furore surrounding their sit-down. “We cannot close ourselves off from the whole of society. We cannot isolate (ourselves), seal ourselves off from people. We’d better start confronting these problems. We’d better understand we’re incorporated into these problems. This isn’t them or they. The people involved with the drugs and being killed are our children. It’s not like somebody crawled out of some hole who is so different from us.”

He also separately admonished Mourning and Turner.

“(He said) you’re an embarrassment to the school and to the program,” Mourning recalled later. “You’re not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting the program. You’re hurting every player who ever came here and built this program with their blood, sweat and tears.”

Edmond was convicted of numerous offences related to drug trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

Thompson finished coaching in 1999. He watched the program at Georgetown go full circle when Ewing became head coach in 2017, before the legendary mentor died on Tuesday aged 78.

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