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Police in Sydney say they have “severely disrupted a large criminal group” after 15 people were arrested in raids targeting the Assyrian crime gang DLAST HR (The Last Hour).
More than 300 heavily armed police took part in 22 raids across the city’s south west this morning in the operation against the gang, which is also known as the Assyrian Kings.
Investigators initially said they had arrested 13 people in the raids, but confirmed another two arrests this afternoon.
The men are facing 29 charges relating to drug supply and possession and being part of a crime gang.
Among the items allegedly seized are drugs, replica guns, cash and a sports car in suburbs such as Fairfield, Bonnyrigg, Horningsea Park, Hinchinbrook, and Canley Vale.
At Rossmore a 34-year-old man was arrested and police seized four jet skis and a boat.
Two car dealerships and the office of a real estate agent in Liverpool were among the business premises raided, while police divers have been scouring a local dam.
Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli says the group has been operating since 2000 and the police operation began about 18 months ago.
“These people have been involved in public place shootings in murders and have been a criminal enterprise within the south west of Sydney,” he said.
“Some of the information relates to cannabis, but what we’re talking about is an enterprise, a criminal group that have made thousands upon thousands of dollars through their criminal activities.
“So today’s result should not be measured purely on the number of arrests and the number of search warrants of the we have dismantled and severely disrupted a very large criminal group that was operating in the south west of Sydney.”
Fairfield Commander Superintendent Peter Lennon says further charges are likely.
“Today there are 13 people currently in custody for offences ranging from supplying prohibited drugs, conspiracy to supply drugs, conspiracy to supply drugs, possess drugs, being in a criminal organised network, directing a criminal organised network,” he said.
“There are further charges being examined in relation to property that has been located…a pill press was found, there are alleged other large amounts of chemicals that have been found.
“I’m aware of in excess of 8 kg of cannabis that was located. Close to $25,000 in cash at various locations.”
‘It was all very scary’
The raids began at dawn and involved the Tactical Operations Unit and the South West Metro Region Enforcement Squad.
One neighbour of a raided property, who did not want to be named, told the ABC that she and a parent stood outside their home and watched events.
“I saw that there was police cars and police walking around and police helicopters in the sky and it was all very scary,” she said.
“The police were holding them down with guns and stuff and obviously arresting them there and then.”
Detectives say those arrested are in the process of being charged by local officers and will appear in court shortly.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says more arrests are likely.
“The New South Wales police force will not rest until we put each and every one of these criminals behind bars and we smashed this particular operation,” he said.
“It’s one that we will be continuing to pay particular attention to and certainly, from my perspective, NSW police will do all we can to break up this and other similar groups.”
Police say the operation will continue over the coming months.