Three alleged members of the Ready 4 War gang – an offshoot of the notorious Alameddine crime network – have been released back onto the streets within hours of being arrested in sweeping dawn raids.
Eighteen men – all believed to be low and mid-level associates of the Alameddine clan – were arrested on Tuesday morning after a 450-strong team of police officers raided 29 properties across Sydney’s south-west.
The blitz followed a 10-month-long investigation into the organised crime group, with NSW Police commissioner Karen Webb declaring the force had completely dismantled the syndicate and ‘cut the head off the snake’.
Meanwhile, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Police Paul Toole claimed police had ‘closed the net’ on one of Sydney’s most ‘dangerous crime families’.
An accused member of the Alameddine crime crew was dragged out of his house by police in just a pair of Bonds underwear during raids in Sydney on Tuesday
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb (pictured) said she was confident police had ‘cut the head off the snake’, shutting down the syndicate altogether
Most of the alleged members of the gang – also known as the ‘Merrylands crew’ – were marched before the courts on Wednesday after being slapped with more than 50 charges collectively, including drug supply, firearm possession, dealing with the proceeds of crime and direct or participate in a criminal group.
But while the majority were refused bail, three men were sent home just hours after being taken into custody.
Fifteen other men who fronted courts in Bankstown, Parramatta, and Fairfield on Wednesday, each facing a string of charges, were all remanded in custody.
Pictured is one of the men arrested on Tuesday. The blitz follows a ten-month-long investigation into the organised crime group, which NSW Police will allege has been distributing drugs throughout the city
A man in a wheelchair was one of the 18 men arrested by police during a coordinated crackdown across Sydney’s southwest on Tuesday
On Tuesday, police, desperate for a win after 14 fatal shootings on suburban streets in the past 18 months, said the raids had brought down a major player in the NSW drug trade.
Dramatic footage showed police ramming down the doors of several homes, before the alleged crooks were taken away in handcuffs.
Commissioner Webb said she was confident police had ‘cut the head off the snake’, shutting down the syndicate altogether.
She said those arrested on Tuesday didn’t appear to be employed but ‘displayed considerable wealth’.
Pictured from left to right are alleged Alameddine associates Ali Younes and Masood Zakaria, and Rafat Alameddine and Hamdi Alameddine. None were arrested in Tuesday’s raids
More arrests are expected to be made in the coming days. Pictured is one man who was arrested on Tuesday morning
Police claim mobile phones were seized which allegedly raked in more than $250,000 a week in drug deals.
The alleged dial-a-dealer syndicate utilised 36 phones, with one device having more than 700 customers.
Assistant Commissioner Mick Fitzgerald alleged the phones had ‘contributed to a number of murders’ over the past two years, with large amounts of cash and drugs such as cocaine, prescription drugs, MDMA and cannabis found during the raids.
Alleged Alameddine member Trent Jeske (pictured) was arrested on Tuesday after properties were raided across Sydney
Weapons, luxury watches and jewellery and cars were also found.
‘We believe we’ve had a significant impact on the Alameddine organised crime network – the drug distribution of that network has been dismantled today,’ he said.
Over the past 18 months, 13 people have been killed in gang violence in Sydney’s west and southwest. Three executions have occurred in recent weeks.
The latest shooting occurred on May 14 when Rami Iskander, the nephew of slain gangland figure Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad, was shot dead at his western Sydney home.
Iskander, 23, was shot in the chest in front of his pregnant wife and two-year-old child at his home on Knox Street at Belmore.
The young father was killed just weeks after his uncle Ahmad was sprayed with bullets outside a Greenacre home on April 27 after a $1million bounty was placed on his head.
Shooting spree erupts in Sydney
The 23-year-old man who was shot in Belmore, Sydney’s south-west, was identified as Rami Iskander – the nephew of underworld figure Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad.
It marks the 13th gangland-style execution to rock Sydney in the last 18 months.
Comanchero bikie Fares Abounader was the first victim in the long spate of shootings after he was killed in a drive-by attack in Panania, south-west Sydney, on August 29, 2020.
Mejid Hamzy was shot dead in Condell Park on October 19, 2020 and then Mustafa Naaman was killed in a suspected mistaken identity attack on Ibrahem Hamze on January 31, 2021.
Mejed Derbas, Shady Kanj, Ghassan Amoun and Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad are among the people who have also been shot.
Comanchero bikies with links to the Alameddine clan, Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar were gunned down while leaving a gym in Auburn on May 10, 2022.