A mafia-like criminal network of violent contract killers, mortgage brokers and IT experts has been dismantled in one of biggest gang busts in NSW history, police say.
More than 70 people have been charged with 660 offences including murder, abduction, extortion and forgery as part of a three-year-long investigation.
While several elements of the gang’s activities were investigated by existing squads such as homicide detectives, a covert squad known only to high-ranking police staff focused on linking the gang’s web of crimes together.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said the group grew out of a chapter of the Rebels bikie gang to become a network of hired thugs for multiple criminal groups.
“This is the largest single violent group we’ve encountered in NSW,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“They were violent in nature, they operated very similar to the mafia where their status and their profiteering was the centre of their crime.
“The business model of this group was professional, it was capable, they were violent in nature, they were able to quickly move on targets.”
Allegedly headed by a 29-year-old business student, the sophisticated group operated an effective business model under a violent code of conduct.
The student and former Rebels bikies member has been in custody since late 2016 and is now accused of three murders, plotting another and running the criminal group.
While the gang’s “core members” are facing court presently, police only lifted the veil on the covert Strike Force Ayle on Saturday once it had dealt with enough “professionals” assisting the gang.
Those include mortgage brokers and an IT professional who gave advice on encryption.
Another is allegedly a former gunsmith who altered ballistic identification on a firearm to help thwart police attempts to link the gun to multiple serious crimes.
Almost 1200 guns were seized from the man’s Seaham property earlier this year.
“What we wanted to do was break down the control syndicate heads had over other group members,” Mr Smith said.
Police have forecast more charges being laid against gang members
Every branch of State Crime Command, from homicide squad to child exploitation detectives, worked on the case at various times but few knew of the covert force connecting the dots.
Federal agencies including the tax office, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, financial intel body AUSTRAC and Border Force were also involved.
“It took a great deal of work inside and outside this agency to break it down so that we could refer it and ensure the core members of this group would face court,” Mr Smith said.
“These (offenders) were true wise guys in every sense of the word.”
© AAP 2018