Australian Men Arrested in Serbia Over $500m Drug Bust

Serbian police have arrested three Australians suspected of being part of an international drug smuggling ring.

Police allege in a statement issued on Wednesday the men were connected to 1280 kilograms of cocaine that was discovered and seized from a Chinese container ship that had docked in Sydney in April 2017.

It is believed that the drugs were valued at around $500 million.

The police released video of the arrests, where heavily armed tactical officers stormed into the lobby of a Belgrade hotel.

A bag filled with foreign currency notes was also shown including about $600,000 in Euros and $10,000 in Australian cash.

Arrests were made during a “money handover”.

Serbian authorities say the arrests were made in cooperation with Australian police.

“Suspended Australian citizens have been detained, and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia will continue to cooperate with the competent authorities in Australia,” the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs said.

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson said they had been aware of the arrests but were unable to comment further.

“The men are the subject of an investigation in Serbia, it would not be appropriate for the AFP to provide further comment at this time,” he said

The AFP had been working with Serbian authorities to arrest the men for nine months.

The men have so far only been identified by their initials and year of birth as Australian citizens.

According to Serbian broadcaster b29, the men have been identified as T.V. (1983), R.A. (1974) and D.K. (1969).

A Lebanese citizen has also been identified as D.G. (1977).

He has been detained and charged with forging identity documents.

Serbian authorities said they would “continue to cooperate with Australia’s authorities in order to implement further action related to this permanent international investigation.”

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