More than 25 warrants and FPO searches conducted in proactive operations; 10 charged, suspected getaway car seized

PLEASE NOTE: The following Hightail – https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/UCfQGD2N0S – contains vision and images of the ongoing police operation, as well as arrests at Chester Hill and Merrylands.

Vision and images of the seized Ford Mustang at Guildford is available via Hightail: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/W2cKXwekGs

The NSW Police Force has seized the suspected getaway car used in a murder and charged 10 people as part of major ongoing operations targeting criminal networks in Sydney’s south-west.

Earlier this month, in response to public acts of violence, South West Metropolitan (SWM) Region initiated Strike Force Hawk, a high-visibility operation which deploys various strategies to prevent and disrupt serious and organised crime within the community.

The operation is being run in conjunction with the State Crime Command’s Raptor Squad, which has been proactively targeting more than 300 identified members and associates of these criminal networks.

These operations are conducted in support of criminal investigations into murders, public place shootings, kidnappings, and other organised criminal activities, including the supply of prohibited drugs and illicit firearms.

So far during the operation, police have seized heroin, MDMA, gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), cocaine, cannabis and ketamine with an estimated potential street value of $127,000, as well as more than $35,000 cash and numerous vehicles – including the Ford Mustang suspected to have been used by those involved in the murder of Salim and Toufik Hamze last Wednesday (20 October 2021).

The Mustang was seized to undergo further forensic examination during a search warrant, which was executed at a Guildford unit about 3.45pm on Friday (22 October 2021). Police also seized illicit drugs and other items of interest to ongoing investigations.

State Crime Command Director, Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett, said the immediate response was structured around successful disruption methods employed by law enforcement against outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs).

“We know from experience how essential it is to formulate a multi-level response to these types of incidents in the immediate 72-hours which follow,” Det Ch Supt Bennett said.

“We immediately deployed around 150 detectives attached to State Crime Command and South West Metropolitan Region, assisted by more than 180 officers from Raptor Squad and local police.

“Investigators are working through forensics and continuing to canvass for witnesses, CCTV and other leads, while officers attached to Raptor Squad and SWM Region conduct overt suppression tactics such as the warrants, vehicle stops and FPOs.”

Those officers are supported by NSW Police Force’s Real Time Intelligence Centre (RTIC), who coordinate suppression operations based on extensive information gathered around ongoing and emerging conflicts.

“After the double murder in Guildford, our intelligence network immediately provided us with more than 300 profiles of associates of criminal networks known to that conflict,” Det Ch Supt Bennett said.

“Police have now turned their attention to these people; reminding them that the unlawful and dangerous conduct of their associates, friends or relatives is focusing police attention on themselves.

“We also have legislative tools like Serious Crime Prevention Orders, Public Safety Orders, and other compliance-based measures that we can impose on those who continue to risk public safety.

“Anyone subject to those conditions can expect constant attention from police – and those who don’t comply face a custodial sentence – as we’ve recently seen,” Det Ch Supt Bennett said.

Other significant events from the operation so far include;

  • About 11.30am on Monday (25 October 2021), police spoke with a man after observing him riding an electric bicycle at allegedly high speed in Chester Hill. In a search of the man’s backpack, officers located methylamphetamine, cocaine, a knife, and other items. The man was arrested and taken to Bankstown Police Station, where he was charged with supply prohibited drug, custody of knife in public place, and two counts possess prohibited drug. He has been formally refused bail to next appear at Bankstown Local Court today (Thursday 28 October 2021).
  • About 6.15am on Tuesday (26 October 2021), police arrested three men after executing search warrants at Merrylands and Lidcombe. A 19-year-old Lidcombe man was charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s), assault person intend criminal activity of criminal group, passenger not disclose driver’s / other passenger’s identity, and possess prescribed restricted substance. He has been refused bail to next appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday 7 December 2021). At Merrylands, police executed two search warrants and arrested two men, aged 20 and 28. During searches of the properties, officers seized clothing, jewellery, cash, mobile phones, and car keys. Both men were taken to Granville Police Station and charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company of other(s), assault person intend criminal activity of criminal group, and passenger not disclose driver’s/other passenger’s identity. Both men appeared at Parramatta Local Court, where they were granted conditional bail to appear at the same court on Tuesday 7 December 2021.

Operations to disrupt and supress gang-related activity is continuing, and further arrests are expected.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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