Underworld figures believed to be linked to a wave of unsolved gangland murders in Sydney have been rounded up in large-scale drug raids, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb has claimed.
Heavily-armed officers attached to two organised crime taskforces – Erebus and Hawk – have arrested 45 since October, seizing eight firearms, a hydraulic press and more than 20kg of MDMA in state-wide raids.
Teams from Taskforce Erebus on Tuesday took down 18 people after busting down the doors of 29 properties accused of running a ‘dial-a-dealer’ drug business raking in over $250,000 a week.
Images from the raids show accused drug dealers handcuffed, face down on the ground as officers in full tactical gear from Strike Force Raptor watch on.
Members of the notorious Alameddine crime network were among those taken into custody following the 10-month long organised crime investigation.
Ms Webb made an appearance on morning TV Friday in an attempt to quell public fears that police have lost control of the streets after 13 deadly shootings in the past 18 months on Sydney’s streets.
Members of the notorious Alameddine crime network were among those taken into custody following the 10-month long organised crime investigation
She was asked by Karl Stefanovic on the Today show if police have ‘any leads’ on some of the highly-planned hits which often involve high-tech tracking devices and two burnt out luxury getaway cars left in neighbouring suburbs.
‘We believe that some of those in custody during this week are linked, she said.
‘But certainly it’s an ongoing investigation, it’s a great inroads this week just to get these people off the street.’
There were 36 phones seized in the raids alleged to be part of the alleged dial-a-dealer syndicate with one of the phones having more than 700 customers.
‘Without access to those contacts… we believe we have really nipped this in the bud,’ Ms Webb said.
‘It’s a very complex web, though. We are talking about a whole network of people involved in this.
‘It’s not just the importers, we are talking about distributors, we are talking about street level and the enablers who have actually supported these people in this enterprise. We have really disrupted this.’
Each of the 18 people arrested, men aged between 19 and 39, have been taken to police stations and will be charged with a variety of offences
Operation Hawke which has now launched state-wide, contains specialist units and commands across NSW and is focused on associates and facilitators of Sydney’s organised crime networks.
Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein said on Friday police had seen success in disrupting Sydney’s drug supply but also know the ‘tentacles of illicit activity stretch far beyond our cities.’
‘NSW attracts around 40 per cent of Australia’s national organised crime population – many of whom attempt to evade the attention of police by operating outside of the Sydney metropolitan area,’ he said.
Police estimate the sale of prohibited drugs in NSW is worth at least $3.7billion a year at street level and is a root cause of the state’s recent spate of killings.
A major alleged ‘dial-a-dealer’ drug syndicate has been shut down by police with 18 people arrested across Sydney and accused members of the Alameddine crime network arrested
‘These arrests send a clear message to anyone involved in organised crime; that we are aware of your illicit activities and will hold you accountable irrespective of your location,’ Det Supt Weinstein said.
Police say 23 kg of ecstasy, 2.5 kg of cocaine and a substance suspected of being methylamphetamine, collectively worth an estimated $4 million, were seized at two properties at Fairfield in Sydney’s west on Tuesday afternoon.
In the Hunter Valley, a search at the home of a Life and Death bikie gang member recovered two rifles a pistol, 350 rounds of ammunition, gel blasters, an electronic stun device, drugs and cash on Wednesday.
The 49-year-old has been charged with 33 offences.
Two revolvers were also found during a stolen car search at Summer Hill in Sydney’s inner west, while a shotgun, other prohibited weapons, drugs, $30,000 cash and stolen goods were seized in Riverina house raids in southern NSW.
Pictured from left to right are alleged Alameddine associates Ali Younes and Masood Zakaria, and Rafat Alameddine and Hamdi Alameddine. None were arrested in Tuesday’s raids
HOW THE UNDERWORLD HAS ERUPTED IN SYDNEY
AUGUST 29, 2020 – Fares Abounader, a Comanchero bikie was shot dead in a drive-by attack as his wife and young child were inside their Panania house.
OCTOBER 4, 2020 – Shaylin Zreika – an associate of the Alameddines – is beaten with a metal bar in a street fight in Strathfield
OCTOBER 18, 2020 – Rafat Alameddine’s former home is shot up in a drive-by shooting
OCTOBER 19, 2020 – Mejid Hamzy is shot dead in Condell Park
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mustafa Naaman is shot dead in Hurstville in a suspected mistaken identity attack on Ibrahem Hamze
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mejed Derbas is shot dead in Smithfield
FEBRUARY 15, 2021 – Bilal Hamze’s mother Maha Hamze comes under gunfire again in another drive-by shooting at her home in Auburn
MARCH 12, 2021 – A home linked to the Alameddine family in Guildford is shot up
AUGUST 6, 2021 – Alameddine low-level associate Shady Kanj is shot in Chester Hill and found dead by police in Guildford
AUGUST 14, 2021 – Police foil alleged gangland hit on Ibrahem Hamze when they spot stolen Mercedes in North Sydney
OCTOBER 20, 2021 – Salim and Toufik Hamze are gunned down outside their home in Guildford
NOVEMBER 10, 2021 – Drive-by shooting at Guildford home of Alameddine associate. No-one is hurt
JANUARY 6, 2022 – Brother of Bassam Hamzy, Ghassan Amoun, is shot dead at 35 years of age in a brazen daylight execution as he sat in a BMW outside an apartment building in Western Sydney.
APRIL, 4, 2022 – Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad aka ‘Mr Big’ is gunned down in a hail of bullets – after being warned by police that he had a million-dollar bounty on his head for his role in deadly shooting in Greenacre.
MAY 10, 2022 – Comanchero bikies with links to the Alameddine clan, Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar were shot at while training at a gym in Auburn. Omar died at the seen while Tarek miraculously survived after being shot 10 times including in the face.
MAY 14: Rami Iskander, 23, was shot in the torso in front of his pregnant wife and two-year-old child at his home on Knox Street at Belmore just before 4am on Saturday. He is the nephew of Brownie Ahmad
MAY 15: NSW Police launch Strikeforce Erebus to try and tackle the growing problem of gang violence with the Australian Federal Police and intelligence agencies partnering with state cops to stop the bloodshed.