Two brothers of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim have been arrested in Dubai as authorities launch a series of raids across Sydney as part of investigations into alleged organised crime.
Australian Federal Police and NSW police reportedly raided 26 homes on Tuesday, as well as more than a dozen other homes in separate investigations understood to be centred on the alleged importation of 50 million illegal cigarettes and the drug ice.
Police on Tuesday searched the homes of Fadi and John Ibrahim in Dover Heights and there are several media reports Michael and Fadi Ibrahim have been arrested in Dubai as part of an investigation into the importation of MDMA, or ecstasy.
It is understood police are also are conducting a number of other raids as part of another investigation into the alleged supply of illegal tobacco across NSW.
The activity in Sydney used in excess of 570 AFP officers as well as a number of officers from the New South Wales Police Force as part of Operation Vader.
Police dismantle major international organised syndicate, 17 arrested https://t.co/rWTGC1svss— AFP (@AusFedPolice) August 8, 2017
The AFP said 2 tonnes of drugs were stopped from coming into Australia.
- Police will allege two syndicates been involved in organising high-volume imports of illegal substances into Australia, laundering millions of dollars and dealing in the proceeds of crime;
- There were a total of 17 arrests across three countries, including nine men and one woman in Sydney, five arrests in Dubai, and two arrests in The Hague.
- Stopped in excess of 1.8 tonnes of MDMA, 136kg of cocaine, and 15kg of methamphetamine, which was destined from Australia;
- Seized in excess of $5.45 million, which police will allege are the proceeds of crime
"These arrests are of significance to the organised crime groups in Australia and this is a huge blow to their ongoing criminality," an AFP spokesman told reporters on Monday.
"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."
It's been reported 50 properties across Sydney have been raided as part of the three police operations, including on homes in Punchbowl, Bankstown and Arncliffe.
The investigation started in mid-2016 when authorities received information that members of the syndicate were attempting to arrange large-scale imports of illicit substances into Australia, the spokesman said.
"The drugs never made it to Australia. They were seized offshore by our law enforcement partners in the Netherlands," the spokesman said.
British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) spokesperson Josh Fett commended the raids and said Australian governments to adopt a coordinated national anti-illegal tobacco strategy.
"Only yesterday we saw comments from ABF (Australian Border Force) Assistant Commissioner Wayne Buchhorn acknowledging that at a street price of 60 times what it is purchased for overseas, illegal tobacco is extremely attractive to criminals," Mr Fett said.
Ibrahim brothers Michael and Fadi have had close calls in recent years, with Michael shot in the shoulder as he made his way home in Sydney's CBD in January 2015. Fadi survived a near-fatal shooting outside a home in Sydney's north in June 2009.