The NSW police officer heading up the new taskforce targeting underworld gangs has vowed to “break the back” of what police suspect is an escalating criminal turf war after a “tit-for-tat” shooting overnight in western Sydney.
Three people avoided injury after a Leppington house in western Sydney was sprayed with bullets. Police say multiple shots were fired at the house and a car on Carnelian Street at about 9.45pm on Tuesday.
Two men and a woman were inside the house at the time but were uninjured.
Detective chief superintendent Darren Bennett described it as “another heinous act of organised crime in Sydney”.
“It’s got all the hallmarks of a tit-for-tat shooting,” he told reporters, adding that it was extremely lucky no one was hurt.
The latest incident comes less than six months after a 28-year-old man was shot three times in the leg on the same street.
Bennett also announced three more arrests in raids on Wednesday morning as part of Taskforce Erebus, which was announced on Monday to target organised crime.
One of those arrested is a 19-year-old who will appear before a Fairfield court on Wednesday charged with supplying prohibited drugs and having the proceeds of crime.
Members and associates of bikie gangs including the Comancheros, Finks and Rebels have been arrested so far. Bennett vowed to “break the back of this current state of violent crime that we’re experiencing”.
The taskforce has expanded its remit to Sydney metropolitan areas as well as the Central Coast.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars from the “proceeds of crime” in the Central Coast and around 40 luxury vehicles stashed in underground carparks around Sydney have been seized.
Police are under immense pressure to curb violence stemming from organised crime and the drug trade after a spate of shootings and 13 deaths over the last two years.
They have also been given new powers in the form of Drug Supply Prohibition Orders that allow them to apply to a court for an order against anyone who has been convicted of a serious drug offence in the past decade. People under a DSPO can be searched anywhere at any time by police without the need to apply for a warrant.
“A lot of organised crime groups recruit young people to do low-level tasks like stealing vehicles and committing low-level crimes that often spills into assaults and other serious matters,” said Bennett.
“And that’s the theme of this morning’s raids, to try and weed out that workforce that’s available.”
The orders will be placed on people strongly suspected of being actively involved in the drug trade, the NSW assistant police commissioner, Mick Fitzgerald, said on Tuesday.
“This is not just for young people who have had one conviction,” he said. “These are people who are convicted of supplying prohibited drugs [and] are actively involved in their community supplying drugs.”