By Ava Benny-Morrison –
Fifteen people have been charged following Sydney raids on an Assyrian syndicate allegedly involved in murders, drugs and shootings.
About 340 police officers swooped on homes and businesses across the city on Monday, seizing drugs, a pill press, luxury items and cash.
Police allege those arrested are members or associates of the criminal gang DLAST HR, which may have overseas links.
They say the 15 are accused of a variety of offences.
A 34-year-old is charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group and recruiting others to assist in carrying out criminal activities.
The youngest to be nabbed was a 21-year-old man, charged with participating in a criminal group and other matters, while the eldest was a 63-year-old Fairfield man charged with possessing a prohibited drug.
Two women, aged 22 and 24, also face charges.
During the raids 22 properties, including a real-estate and car dealership, were targeted in several suburbs, including Fairfield, Campbelltown and Rossmore.
South West Metro Region Commander Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli said the searches followed two years of hard work.
He said those targeted had been involved in public shootings and murders.
“Some of the information relates to cannabis but what we are talking about is an enterprise, a criminal group that have made thousands upon thousands of dollars through their criminal activities,” he said.
The NSW Crime Commission was also been involved in the Strike Force Evesson investigation.
Items seized included eight kilograms of cannabis, almost $25,000 in cash, four jet skis, a boat and a Lotus sports car.
Fairfield Local Area Commander Superintendent Peter Lennon did not rule out links with a wider crime network outside Australia.
“They are domestic although we are aware of some other links that they have got,” he said.
“I wouldn’t call it international but … it’s a little bit more than just domestic.”
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said police would not rest until every criminal was behind bars.
“It’s one that we will be continuing to pay particular attention to and certainly from my perspective you can be assured the NSW police will do all we can to break up this and other similar groups,” he said.
Strike Force Evesson will continue over the coming months.
Those charged will face courts across Sydney over the coming weeks and months.