A further 45 people have been arrested in the latest NSW police raids targeting organized crime, with police alleging a turf war over mobile phones was behind a spate of recent shootings.
Eight firearms, MDMA and other drugs were seized in the statewide operation launched after the Erebus task force arrested 18 people in Sydney on Tuesday.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said a police operation that has been ongoing for more than 10 months has resulted in the execution of 30 search warrants and 18 arrests on Tuesday.
Strike Force Hawke has made further arrests since then, bringing the number to 63, with 50 search warrants executed.
“In addition to this we have seized 36 cell phones which we believe were used in the union and this will go a long way to breaking up this union,” Ms Webb said.
“We also arrested a gentleman last night, yesterday, for facilitating this access to these cell phones and SIM cards.”
“It is a very organized network, from importation to distribution and supply at street level.
“So we really destroyed that network.
“We will allege that the supply of drugs through this telephone network was in fact part of the turf war which led to the murder of people.
“So from low level crime all the way up to the worst crime and certainly well organized, orchestrated, and it’s a very complex web of people and syndicate.”
Ms Webb said police were confident Sydney remained safe and those involved were a relatively small group.
She said many of those involved had been arrested.
Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein said the Operation Hawke sweep involved specialist units and commands across New South Wales.
“NSW attracts around 40% of Australia’s domestic organized crime population – many of whom try to evade police attention by operating outside the Sydney metropolitan area,” he said on Friday.
Police estimate that the sale of banned drugs in NSW is worth at least $3.7 billion a year at street level.
Police say 23 kilograms of ecstasy, 2.5 kilograms of cocaine and a substance suspected of being methamphetamine, with an estimated collective value of $4 million, were seized on Tuesday afternoon from two properties in Fairfield, Western Sydney.
In the Hunter Valley, a search of the home of a member of a Life and Death motorcycle gang on Wednesday resulted in the recovery of two rifles, a pistol, 350 rounds, gel blasters, an electronic stun device, drugs and money.
The 49-year-old was charged with 33 offences.
Two revolvers were also found during a search of a stolen car in Summer Hill in Sydney’s central west, while a shotgun, other prohibited weapons, drugs, $30,000 cash and stolen goods were seized during raids in Riverina in southern New South Wales.
Australian Associated Press