Across Sydney, NSW Police Force and Australian Federal Police officers swooped on numerous homes.
Across Sydney, NSW Police Force and Australian Federal Police officers swooped on numerous homes.

Raids shake Sydney underworld

AT dawn police launched a series of raids across Sydney that have dramatically changed the landscape of the city's underworld.

Hundreds of police swooped on homes and businesses across 23 neighbourhoods including luxury eastern suburb mansions.

It was the culmination of three separate operations targeting the multimillion-dollar smuggling of drugs and illicit tobacco into Australia.

"It's going to change the structure of the Sydney underworld incredibly," a senior law enforcement source claimed.

The highest-profile operation was called Veyda and targeted two interlinked ­alleged crime syndicates and the attempted importation of 1.8 tonnes of ecstasy, 136kg of cocaine and 15kg of crystal methamphetamine worth up to $180 million. The drugs were seized in July before leaving the Netherlands.

"We will allege that the two syndicates have long been involved in organising high-volume imports of illegal substances into Australia, and laundering millions of dollars and dealing in the proceeds of crime, both domestically and internationally," Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said

Operation Kindra targeted illegal tobacco smuggling and the seizure of 1.4 tonnes of ephedrine, a precursor drug for ice, in June, which was disguised as sea salt and had an estimated street value of $650 million.
It involved the arrest of a father and son and raids on two tobacco shops in Fairfield and Canley Vale by the NSW Gangs Squad and the Australian Border Force.

Some of the addresses raided as part of Operation Veyda were among the most notorious in the city. They included Punchbowl's Telopea St, which is home to Mustapha Dib.

As Dib, 34, was being ­arrested in Dubai along with Fadi and Michael Ibrahim and Steven Elmir, his Telopea St home was being searched.

In glitzy Dover Heights, the neighbouring clifftop homes of John Ibrahim, 46, and his son Daniel Ibrahim, 26, were being taken apart as they were searched from top to bottom by police with dogs. John owns both of the ­multi-million-dollars homes through his companies.

He was not arrested or charged.

Teams of investigators left from both homes carrying boxes and packed black evidence bags.

At John Ibrahim's home, police dug through the poolside gardens, scooping into a fish pond and looked at a section of the roof. A group of ­officers rushed out of the front gate about 1pm and ran south along the cliff top, searching bushland.

Fadi Ibrahim's home in nearby Weonga Rd was also searched. Daniel Ibrahim and Ahmad "Rock" Ahmad were also arrested in Sydney as part of Operation Veyda.

Search warrants were executed in the suburbs of Arncliffe, Bankstown, Bellevue Hill, Double Bay, Dover Heights, Enmore, Greystanes, Greenacre, Merrylands, Old Guildford, Parramatta, Punchbowl, South Hurstville, South Wentworthville, Sydney, Woolloomooloo, Rose Bay, Potts Point, Vaucluse, Rockdale, Brighton-Le-Sands, Canley Vale and Fairfield.

There was no official ­explanation from police yesterday as to why three high-profile operations were carried out on the same day.

But a source said: "It could be that some of these people knew each other or the news would spread."

The raids involved the country's peak law enforcement agencies and overseas authorities including the UAE Ministry of Justice, the Dubai Public Prosecution ­Office, Dubai Police, the ­National Police of the Netherlands, the National Public Prosecution Office of the Netherlands, and Hong Kong Customs and Excise.

The Commonwealth ­Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-­General's Department have also provided significant ­assistance regarding the ­arrests in Dubai.

The raids across metropolitan Sydney yesterday involved huge numbers of AFP officers. "Activity in Sydney alone today used in excess of 570 AFP officers as well as number officers from NSW police force," the Mr Gaughan said.

"This is a great day for Australian law enforcement. I think what it shows is the tenacity and willingness and the handwork that people put in to bring these people to justice."