‘Nobody noticed’… Drug base in the heart of Istanbul

The executives of the globally sought-after Aussie cartel emerged at a small-scale hotel called Kings Cross in Istanbul’s hotel, residence and business district district, Esentepe. According to today’s article by BirGün writer Bahadır Özgür, his senior officer was caught in Sarıyer last weekend and the extradition process was initiated.

Özgür wrote that the Australian police detected him a year ago and demanded his arrest, “Interestingly, the other leader of the gang, Mark Buddle, was also among those residing in Turkey. In 2018, he owned a 1.5 million dollar flat in a famous plaza in Esentepe. “When a lawsuit was filed against him, he suddenly went to the TRNC, got married and got a residence permit. However, he was detained in 2021 on charges of ‘laundering the proceeds of crime’ and was extradited through Turkey.”


Özgür, who wrote that the gang carried out all its operations in recent years from Turkey, described the investigation into the gang members called the ‘Trojan horse’ opened in the USA as follows:

“Don’t mind being referred to as the ‘motorcycle gang’, they are the architects of one of the largest narco trade networks in recent years. The FBI uncovered the organization in its entirety in June 2021. According to the indictment prepared by the Southern District of California Prosecutor’s Office, Turkey, Ukraine, Spain, Australia, Lebanon, China and A 17-member ‘think tank’ consisting of Dutch citizens had developed an encrypted messaging method to coordinate the global drug trade.With the system, which operates through an application called ANOM, they provided services to 12 thousand people who were members of nearly 300 criminal organizations operating in more than 100 countries. As a result of 27 million messages examined for 18 months after the FBI infiltrated the system, around 800 people were arrested in a joint operation in 12 countries; 8 tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis, 2 tons of cannabis, 6 tons of synthetic drugs, 250 weapons.


Özgür explained the following in the rest of his article:

“What created this earthquake was Hakan Ayık’s passion for social media. He was so happy with ANOM’s success that he advertised it on Instagram as if he wanted to announce a brilliant start-up project to the world. And for a few years now Colombia-Africa-Thailand-Australia. Following the cocaine trade on the line, the FBI noticed and leaked ANOM. They texted with Ayık for months. Eventually, it was discovered that the main actors of the system were Ayık, and his nephew Erkan Yusuf Doğan and Barış Tükel. The number one suspect in the case was Ayık. All three were citizens of Turkey and Australia. They grew up in. In fact, Ngakuru, who was caught at the weekend, and Ayık were friends from high school.

Agreements are made through ANOM, photos are taken of the products (tuna, kiwi, banana, etc.) where the drugs are placed, ship routes, ports, container numbers, addresses, etc. was written. For example, in one message, Barış Tükel was texting a buyer who wanted cocaine: “COL’s share is 50/4. You will have to share 50 too.” In other words, he was conveying that Colombian distributors received 50 percent of the profits of cocaine, and the remaining 50 percent would be shared by 4 partners.

When the FBI agents dissolved the cartel, he pressed the button. But the top names had disappeared. This is where Ayık’s enthusiasm for social media came into play again.

He started taking selfies from the hotel and sharing them. In a selfie taken by his Dutch wife at the clinic he owns, it was even seen that Ayık had a hair transplant on the back. One of the most important pieces of evidence was that a photo of a party held at the hotel was shared on the hotel’s official Instagram page.

Australian police took action when they saw one of the leaders of the country’s number one criminal organization on social media. They filmed undercover at the hotel. Australian journalists working on organized crime also stayed at the hotel. And over the past year, they’ve been publishing detailed reports in the media about who is staying at the Kings Cross Hotel.

Ayık shared the first photo showing Ngakuru in Turkey on Facebook. In the photo, which is believed to have been taken in Bodrum, Ngakuru was sitting on a yacht with a huge Turkish flag, smiling. The second photo was dated 2019 and was taken by Ayık while eating at the hotel. He sent the photo to Doğan via ANOM and wrote: “I’m going to Pukhet tomorrow. I didn’t know what to say. You little idiot.” Doğan replied, “Let them do their job, we do our job”. Doğan’s response to Ayık’s sentence “We have a clear team, we don’t need them” was to put a stool emoji after saying “Yes, we don’t need them”. The third photo was a selfie taken in front of the Kings Cross Hotel, which was also sent via ANOM in 2020. So the police discovered the epicenter of the cartel.


The two Australian executives of the Aussie cartel were captured and extradited in Turkey, and the Chinese executive in Thailand. Some are detained in Colombia and the USA. Sober and his team remained. What are they doing?

Hakan Ayık became interested in the hotel business in 2015. First, he became a half partner in Biblos Alaçatı Resort Hotel Construction and Tourism company. Three years later, he transferred the shares and established Apex World Tourism Hotel Management Food Technology company in Istanbul in 2018. He then started operating the Kings Cross Hotel. The company is located right next to the hotel on the back street. In 2021, he renounced his Australian citizenship and changed his surname to ‘Reis’. Ayık is wanted in Australia for his long years of criminal activities, and in the US for his cocaine trafficking case. We don’t know if he has any calls in Turkey. It seems that no one noticed that a hotel in the middle of Istanbul turned into a cartel base in Turkey, while officials from both ends of the world were tracking down social media and finding the criminals!