Police catch 'drug escapee'
A 57-year-old Sydney man is being extradited to Perth after evading police for a year on charges of conspiring to distribute 20kg of MDMA.
Kosta Doncev was on bail when he skipped trial in the Perth District Court in March 20, 2009.
He and two Perth men were charged after WA police found a plastic drum containing MDMA powder, used to manufacture ecstasy pills, buried in the backyard of a rented Safety Bay property in 2007.
It was the largest haul at the time, worth $12 million, and was linked to an international drug racket.
At the time of the arrests, Doncev was in Sydney and alleged to have been trying to flee the country.
Although considered a flight risk, the Perth District Court granted him bail.
Two days ago, New South Wales police stopped Doncev on a Darling harbour street in central Sydney and asked for identification.
Police said he confessed his name and was arrested without a fight.
Detective superintendent Charlie Carver, of the organised crime unit, said it was a significant arrest that was the culmination of two years of work by the Australian Federal Police and NSW and WA police.
"He was one of the major key players in relation to this operation," he said.
It is alleged that through Doncev's eastern European links drugs were being imported into Australia and distributed in WA.
"Previously they have come into Australia from overseas in eastern block countries and also Europe and some have been manufactured," Detective Carver said.
"Sometimes the powder comes into this country and then the pill presses are operated and they are actually manufactured here."
Doncev will leave Sydney aboard a Qantas flight at 1.50pm (WST) and due to arrive at 6.40pm.
He is handcuffed and being escorted by two police officers, Detective Carver said.
Doncev is due to face court tomorrow, where police will oppose bail.
"Twenty kilos of MDMA is a very, very significant amount so you're looking for very, very harsh penalties there, if convicted," Detective Carver said.
Police have not yet recovered Doncev's passport. It is also still unknown how he escaped the state.
The other two men charged over the 20kg haul have been dealt with by the courts.
March 19, 2010
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