Strike force detectives arrest five members of Assyrian criminal syndicate

Police have today arrested and charged five members of a sophisticated Assyrian criminal group following exhaustive inquiries into drug and gun crime in Sydney’s south-west.

Fairfield Local Area Command detectives formed Strike Force Face in July last year to investigate the street-level supply of methylamphetamine and cannabis by members of the criminal syndicate.

Three men, 18, 19 and 20, were arrested in simultaneous dawn raids on four Fairfield properties just before 7am today (Wednesday 29 February 2012), while a fourth man, 18, was taken into custody last night (Tuesday 28 February 2012).

The men were taken to Cabramatta and Fairfield Police Stations and charged with a combined total of more than 30 offences – including drug supply, being on drug premises and participating in a criminal group.

The four did not apply for bail and are being held in custody until they appear in Fairfield Local Court on Monday 12 March 2012.

About 1.15pm today, a 21-year-old man, was arrested by strike force investigators at Carramar. He has been charged with supplying prohibited drugs, being on a drug premises and participating in a criminal group. He was refused bail and will appear in Fairfield Local Court tomorrow (Thursday 1 March 2012).

Eight members of the alleged criminal group have now been locked up by police.

Last month, in the first phase the syndicate’s alleged kingpin was arrested by police in an operation which allegedly resulted in the seizure of nine firearms – including three automatic pistols, a revolver, rifle, two shotguns and two shortened rifles – ammunition and a quantity of drugs.

The 21-year-old man was arrested during a search warrant on a residence in Fairfield Street, Fairfield, on Friday 27 January 2012 and is currently before the courts on 21 drug supply, possession and firearms charges.

Two other men, aged 19 and 20, remain in custody on unrelated matters and are expected to be charged by Strike Force Face detectives in the near future.

Three motor vehicles – believed to have been used in a number of offences – have previously been seized by the strike force. Those vehicles could be crushed.

South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli, said the arrests are the result of diligent police work.

“Today’s arrests send a warning to those engaged in criminal activity, including others linked to this Assyrian group, their days of criminality and illegal behaviour are numbered,” Assistant Commissioner Mennilli said.

“Police are here, as part of the community, to stop criminal behaviour and ensure our neighbourhood is a safe place for all of us.

“We are reliant on the community providing us information to solve crime and I encourage anyone who has information that might assist us to come forward. You can remain anonymous and the information you provide will be treated in strict confidence.

“Members of the community are speaking out more and more about what is happening and that is encouraging; however, we continue to work with community leaders to break down the wall of silence.

“We’re committed to tackling organised crime and those who are endangering our community by peddling drugs and we won’t rest until criminals are taken off the streets,” he said.

Strike Force Face is working hand in glove with ‘Operation Spartan’ – an intense, intelligence-based policing response to the recent spate of public place shootings across the Sydney metropolitan area.

“This operation is ongoing. We will continue to conduct high-visibility patrols, particularly around hot spots,” Assistant Commissioner Mennilli said.

“We have integrated our intelligence gathering between LACS, Regions and the State Crime Command’s specialist squads and we are starting to see some results,” he said.

Since it was launched last month, Operation Spartan has resulted in 164 people being arrested and charged with a total 302 offences.

Police have conducted 1896 person searches and 767 vehicle searches – seizing 22 firearms.

“The good citizens of our community do not want this criminal activity – the public place shootings and peddling of drugs – taking place,” Assistant Commissioner Mennilli said. “I can assure the public we won’t rest until the criminals are locked up and put before the courts.”

Anyone with information that might assist Strike Force Face with its inquiries is urged to contact Fairfield Detectives on (02) 9728 8399 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Members of the public can also provide information about local crime to Fairfield Police by calling a confidential message service on (02) 9728 8444.

Investigations by Strike Force Face are continuing.