Seventeen alleged members of the Alameddine crime network are today expected to front courts across Sydney after being arrested in sweeping gangland raids.
The men, who police will allege are low or mid-ranking members of the network, were charged overnight with various offenses including drug supply and gun possession.
Guns, drugs, cash and 36 encrypted mobile phones were seized during the 29 search warrants executed by Strike Force Sugarcane, which has led an investigation for almost a year.
Senior police say the group’s alleged drug distribution network has now been crushed, and hope that could stem the violent feuds over the city’s drug markets.
Detective Chief Inspector Darren Bennett told the ABC today drug operations were the “root cause” of the gangland violence which has claimed 13 lives in 18 months.
“We’re not saying it’s over now because it’s impossible to say that, but what we’re going to do is work hard on these people until they get the message that sort of violence is not acceptable,” he said.
“So we’ll just keep going.”
Chief Inspector Bennett said police had been “very aware… for a long period of time” of conversations on the mobile phones allegedly used to run the dial-a-dealer drug network.
Among those charged yesterday was Assad Alahmad, 28, who is accused of offenses including large commercial drug supply and directing a criminal group.
Also arrested was Khaled Zreika, 21, who has been charged with commercial drug supply, criminal group participation and a series of firearms offenses.
Several other Zreikas — including Amir, Mouhammad, Zackaria and Abraham — were charged with various drug supply, criminal group and proceeds of crime offences.
They were all refused bail to appear before courts in Sydney’s west and south-west today.
Trent Jeske, 24, was also arrested on Tuesday and is now charged with large commercial drug supply and knowingly or recklessly directing a criminal group among other offences.
The 18th man arrested, 39, has been transferred to hospital for treatment. He is yet to be charged with any offenses.