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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

42 Arrested in Aussie Cartel/Comanchero Motorcycle Gang Sting in Turkey

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Hakan Ayik was arrested in Turkey during Operation Cage, a joint Turkish/Australian drug sting with assistance from the FBI. The operation resulted in the capture of 37 initial suspects including Hakan Arif, former Comanchero MC Australian National President Duax Hohepa Ngakuru, Baris Tukel, Erkan Yusuf Dogan, Jimmy Avaijan, Sibel Arif, and Alp Ozturk. Several more arrests were announced days later including that of Balkan organized crime figure Maximillian Rivkin, more recently known as Cem Cansu.

Ayik was a Turkish-Australian citizen allegedly involved in international drug trafficking and money laundering. Ayik fled Australia in 2010 and renounced his citizenship in 2019. In 2021, he was among 17 people worldwide to be charged in an FBI indictment in the US for violating the RICO Act.

The FBI alleged that Ayik was one of the three administrators of the AN0M encrypted device network. The FBI and Australian Federal Police used the encrypted chat app AN0M to trace Ayik's vast narcotics enterprise throughout the world. By sharing that app, he unknowingly helped the AFP bring down more than 220 alleged criminals in a three-year operation across 18 countries.

AN0M Encrypted Phone Sting

The FBI, as part of Operation Trojan/Global Shield & Ironside, had worked to insert AN0M into use amongst the underground criminal drug world across the globe. The encrypted phone system largely replaced Sky Global, EncroChat, Phantom Secure, and other platforms authorities had breached and shut down. Hakan Ayik was utilized as an unwitting 'influencer' to help distribute the app, he was also an admin. At the same time, authorities captured every text and photo exchanged to coordinate large cocaine and other narcotic shipments and money laundering on several continents.

Since October 2019, the FBI has cataloged more than 20 million messages from a total of 11,800 devices — with about 9,000 currently active at the time of it being shut down in 2021, according to the documents, which cited Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, and Serbia as the most active countries.

Intelligence gathered and analyzed “enabled us to prevent murders. It led to the seizure of drugs that led to the seizure of weapons. And it helped prevent a number of crimes,” Calvin Shivers, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, told a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands.

Over the past 18 months, the agency provided phones via unsuspecting middlemen to more than 300 gangs operating in more than 100 countries. “There was a void that was created by a lack of these encrypted platforms,” Shivers said, of the initial move to take down apps previously used by gangs. “So that created an opportunity for collaboration with our international partners, to not only develop the specific tool but also to develop the process of gathering the intelligence and disseminating the intelligence."

The ANOM app became popular in criminal circles as users told one another it was a safe platform. All the time, police were looking over the shoulders of criminals as they discussed hits, drug shipments, and other crimes. The devices were initially used by alleged senior crime figures, giving other criminals the confidence to use the platform. "You had to know a criminal to get hold of one of these customized phones. The phones couldn't ring or email. You could only communicate with someone on the same platform," the Australian police explained.

Operation Cage

The AFP said the 37 people detained in Operation Cage will disrupt the global illicit drug trade. "Some of them were not only known and wanted by the AFP, but by other law enforcement agencies across the world," Acting Deputy Commissioner Edwards said.

The AFP alleged in addition to Ayik, the other men arrested have extensive connections to the Comancheros and organized crime within Australia. An estimated $160 million USD in bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and company shares linked to 55 people was seized in the operation, Turkish authorities said.

"We allege they have an extensive network of criminals or criminals associates from various countries around the world," he said. Those countries included the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, and Lebanon.

"We allege two of those men enforced or moved illegal shipments of drugs almost anywhere in the world. A conservative estimate would be between 10 and 15 tons of border-controlled drugs destined for Australia could be attributed to some of these men."

Acting Deputy Commissioner Edwards said not all of the individuals captured had links to Australia. Another key figure arrested was Maximillian Rıvkın, also known as Cem Cansu. Rivkin was a Balkan organized crime figure who was responsible for the delivery of a thousand kilos of cocaine by sea in the south of Hong Kong.

"What we do know is a portion of those people have a significant impact on the Australian population and we were very pleased to see the Turkish National Police have done such a good job in arresting those people."

Ayik is currently detained and it is not yet known whether he will be extradited to Australia. He previously had dual citizenship, but denounced his Australian citizenship several years ago after residing in Turkey.

Ayik was also known as the "Facebook Gangster" for posting gym and beach photos while wanted by Australian authorities and the FBI.

King's Cross Hotel

Born to Turkish migrants in 1979, Ayik was raised in Sydney but it was not until about 2005 that he came onto the radar of Australian police, local media have reported. Also known as Joseph Ayik and Hakan Reis, Ayik is one of five people on NSW's most wanted list. He was added to that list in 2011, a year after fleeing Australia for Cyprus via Korea, over the alleged supply of $230 million worth of heroin. Cyprus authorities arrested him in 2010 but he vanished after being granted bail.

His wealth and flashy lifestyle were flaunted on Facebook, bringing him to the attention of authorities and the public, and earning him his nickname. A joint investigation by 60 Minutes Australia, The Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald tracked him down in Turkey where they allege, he continues to lead a lavish lifestyle abroad investing his wealth into businesses and two homes in prestigious residential areas. They said he has been living under the name Hakan Reis, having renounced his Australian citizenship, and has reportedly married a Dutch woman and had two children.

In 2021, two staffers at the Kings Cross Hotel in Istanbul's upscale financial district of Levent said that Ayik was the owner and appeared there often. The 13-room hotel has a spa and Japanese restaurant and its business card included the slogan: "Sleep your way to the top".

The hotel in Şişli and Ayık's company was established in 2018. It was also written that the Kings Cross Hotel had become an important meeting point. The hotel is affiliated with Apex World Tourism Hotel Management Food Technology Joint Stock Company.

Hakan Ayık, Hakan Arif Tavukçu, and Maximillian Rıvkın were in the roles of director/investor/broker, and the other suspects Duax Hohepa Ngakuru, Erkan Yusuf Doğan, Barış Tükel, Alp Öztürk, Jımmy Avaıjan were in the role of distribution/coordination/supply.

Duax Hohepa Ngakuru

Comanchero Supreme Commander Arrested

Another key figure in the Aussie Cartel and the Comanchero Crime Syndicate captured in Turkey was Duax Hohepa Ngakuru from an Interpol red notice issued by New Zealand, while Turkish interior minister Ali Yerlikaya also said Hakan Arif Tavukcu was nabbed on an Australian-issued red notice.

Ayik, also known as Reis, and Duax Hohepa Ngakuru, have led the Aussie Cartel crime ring since at least last year, following the arrest and extradition of former Comanchero bikie boss Mark Buddle. Ayik is wanted by US and Australian authorities while Ngakuru, who was also arrested, is wanted in New Zealand.

It was reported earlier this year that Ngakuru, who was born in Rotorua, had become the new “Supreme Commander” of the now-worldwide Comanchero motorcycle club. Ngakuru grew up in Sydney where he rose through the ranks of the Comancheros during violent turf wars with ruthless rival gangs.

In May 2021, Ayık's best friend Daux Ngakuru said in a message later seized by New Zealand police that "the Australian Federal Police must accept that they have lost the war [against organized crime]."

Senior New Zealand police officers have also been in talks with Turkish counterparts, trying to get them to send the gang kingpin back to his homeland to face charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Ngakuru also goes by several aliases, including Negotiator, Bullseye, Chuck Norris, and El Mito (The Myth). It’s alleged that he has also been based in Thailand to act as a fixer, or “super-facilitator”, between the Comancheros and Asian organized crime syndicates.

He’s accused of being behind some of the world’s biggest drug deals and is reportedly controlling business from Turkey, with an estimated wealth of more than $100 million. Istanbul's chief public prosecutor filed a lawsuit against the Comanchero bike gang alleging it laundered its assets in Turkey. The drug trade spanned South America, Australia, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, South Korea, and South Africa, Yerlikaya said.


  1. Albanian kingpin, Drexel Rexhepi was arrested in Istanbul a few days ago. Wanted by three countries

  2. Finally Erdogan acts like a grownup, kind of, busting some foos he's protected for years without ruffling too many Turkey feathers or dirtying his own nest.
    There's always a home for dirty money.

  3. I can't believe how lazy these guys are. 20-30 hours spent at the PC learning about how encryption works could have saved these guys decades in prison. Instead they just trusted a system they hadn't investigated properly.

    1. They may yet escape lol

    2. 2:20 honestly the worst fup was chapos Colombian IT guy who forgot to pay the bill for the encryption renewal so chapo and friends where chatting open air.

    3. Yes that would have definitely saved them. Spending 20-30 hours learning about encryption will $100% foil any efforts by the world’s intelligence agencies.

      You’re so smart

    4. @2.20. Chapo was hiking through mountains with CIA, FBI, and SEMAR hunting him down with a bounty on his head. But a 24 hour crash course in encryption would have saved his ass?

    5. 7:31 he's talking about the Aussie cartel and the anom app

  4. I know and indeed he was my neighbour Muhamed MUNJA Bosnian who established Comancheros MC i was on many partys aswell in MC House.My dad used to paint oldtimers for Munja.All these fucjers where on funeral or djenaza


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