Mr Baluch, arrested in June and charged with a series of offences including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, vanished days after being granted bail at the end of last week. He disabled and removed a court-imposed ankle monitor about 10.40pm on Monday.
About 2.30am on Tuesday, police believe he was hiding in the back seat of a black Range Rover heading east on the M4 at Concord.
Police had opposed Mr Baluch’s bail application last week partly based on his apparent wealth and alleged underworld connections.
The Herald revealed police allegations that Mr Baluch had spoken to associates on the communications app An0m of having $30 million in personal funds and being in a position to pay for an entire shipment of cocaine from Ecuador.
He is alleged to have been the primary “shareholder” for an April shipment of 900 kilograms of cocaine, carrying a potential street value of $270 million in Australia.
On May 20, he allegedly said to an associate “all come to me”, indicating he would be responsible for all 900 kilograms of the drug shipment.
On May 27, he allegedly confirmed to the person the drugs were safe, and they congratulated each other on the apparent success.
“We control market,” he said, according to the police transcripts.
The court’s decision to grant Mr Baluch bail on Thursday last week attracted criticism from NSW Police Minister David Elliott.
“This guy was our Pablo Escobar. This guy was part of an international racket with levels of drugs we haven’t seen before. And the police warned the court he was a bad guy,” he told 2GB on Wednesday morning.
“To say I’m infuriated would be an understatement.”
Police have explored a range of leads about Mr Baluch’s movements, including that he chartered a flight out of Sydney, possibly from Bankstown Airport, or headed south towards Victoria.
“I can tell you for sure that he’s very, very focused on leaving the jurisdiction and I can tell you, for certain, that he’s seeking assistance from those who will fly him out of NSW and out of the country,” Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, Organised Crime Squad Commander, said on Wednesday.
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