DRUGS, cash, replica guns a pill-press and a luxury Lotus sports car have been seized in raids aimed at “destroying” an organised crime gang believed to be behind more than a dozen public shootings.
More than 341 police executed 22 raids in a blitz on the Assyrian crime gang DLASTHR this morning.
The massive police operation involved local and state police along with the NSW Crime Commission and saw 18 simultaneous raids and saw officers arrest 13 men and seize 8kg of cannabis, $25,000 in cash, a pill-press, four jetskis, a boat, and an expensive luxury Lotus Sprite sports car.
The DLASTHR originated as an offshoot of the Assyrian Kings – the crime group involved in the brutal murder of off-duty police officer David Carty in 1997 – partially scalping him and slicing off his nose and ear in a frenzied attack only blocks from Fairfield police station.
“This group is a violent, organised gang which has been involved in public-place shootings, vicious assaults, drug dealing and extortion,” NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said. “The NSW police force will not rest until we have put every single one of them behind bars.”
The raids are the product of an 18-month joint investigation by Strike Force Evesson, involving investigators from the Fairfield Local Area Command and the NSW Crime Commission.
Today’s operation began at 6am, when dozens of specialist police, two “Bearcat” armoured vehicles and investigators from Fairfield Local Area Command stormed a semirural property at Rossmore.
Next-door neighbour Linda said she was woken up by a police siren and looked outside to see the raid in full swing.
“We heard a bang and looked outside to see these two big armoured hummer-things with guys hanging off them holding guns,” she said. “There was an alarm going and someone on a megaphone saying ‘this is a police raid’.”
“There were dogs, guns, and police everywhere. It’s a pretty scary thing.”
Another local resident, who requested not to be named, said there were frequently “strange cars” going in and out of the property.
“You don’t want to get involved,” she said. “It’s usually very quiet around here but you see lots of random people and cars in that place.”
At the scene detectives were quizzing a number of men on the front porch of the residential home on Bellfield Ave while other officers scoured the property behind.
Plainclothes police left the property with a number of brown paper evidence bags while four carloads of officers search the property’s nearly two dozen greenhouses.
Specialist police divers scoured a nearby dam for evidence and four jetskis and a boat were confiscated.
A 34-year-old man was arrested at the property and charged with a range of offenses relating to drug supply and directing the activities of a criminal group.
Another 12 men were arrested and were charged with a range of offences including grievous bodily harm, drug supply and participate in a criminal group.
Despite being charged with offences relating to recruiting and directing a criminal group it is unclear if the man arrested at Rossmore was the acting leader of the gang with Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli stating the group didn’t have a “clear leader” and had activities which were “a little bit more than just domestic”.
In total, 22 search warrants were executed across Sydney’s southwest at properties in Fairfield, Bonnyrigg, Horningsea Park, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Campbelltown, Wetherill Park, Liverpool, Warwick Farm, Cartwright, Smithfield, Greenfield Park, Bossley Park, Canley Vale and Rossmore.
The sites raided included a number of residential properties as well as two car dealerships and a real-estate office, the last ironically based directly opposite a police centre in Liverpool.
Commr Scipione, said the arrests were aimed at “destroying” the gang.
“We are confident today’s arrests will seriously disrupt the business dealings of this particular syndicate,” he said. “Nevertheless, our work is not yet done and we need the assistance of the local community to help us continue investigations into the rest of the gang.”
“I can assure you that whenever we’re here – they are in strife. We will be going after them.”
Today’s 13 arrests take the total number of people arrested by Strike Force Evesson to 33.
Assistant Commissioner Mennilli said NSW police expected to make more arrests with the group also believed to be responsible for a number of shootings in the area.
“We want to put this whole syndicate out of business,” he said. “As well as allegedly being involved in drug supply, extortion and a number of assaults, we believe the DLASTHR has been involved in more than a dozen public place shootings in Sydney over the last two years.”
Strike Force Evesson, which is supported by the NSW Crime Commission’s Operation Ramsgate, will continue over the coming months.