Sibling of underworld figures targeted in gang raids


The sister of two high-profile underworld figures caught up in Sydney's gangland wars has been charged as police target people on the fringes of major criminal operations.

Officers attached to Task Force Magnus arrested and charged nine people after a series of raids on Thursday.

They included 43-year-old Asmahan Zahed, whose brother, Comanchero bikie boss Tarek Zahed, is in custody facing murder charges.

Another brother, Omar Zahed, was shot and killed inside a western Sydney gym last year, an attack Tarek survived.

Asmahan Zahed was charged with three counts of having suspected stolen goods and one count of breaching bail, and she was held in custody to appear at Burwood Local Court on Friday.

During the task force's searches, police seized firearms and other banned weapons, as well as drugs and $45,000 in cash.

The task force was set up in July following a series of gangland shootings that dated back to the murder of drug kingpin Alen Moradian at Bondi Junction in June.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said there had been hundreds of people charged since the task force was formed, although investigators were yet to crack major cases like Moradian's killing.

"The criminal investigations into the homicides and shootings which were a part of the catalyst for the creation of Task Force Magnus continue," he said on Friday.

"These matters have proven resilient to normal investigative practices.

"It's like the layers of an onion - it's a long, slow process."

The head of the task force, Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein, said the people targeted in the latest busts were previously considered to be fringe to the core investigation.

"(They are) individuals who are on the outer layers of facilitating and assisting the organised crime entities who we are specifically looking at in regards to Task Force Magnus," he said.

"All I can say from this point in time is that we're certainly getting closer to the centre of gravity around those people that have been driving some of those crimes." 

The raids uncovered a laptop thought to be used by criminals to clone number plates, which can be used to prevent the identification of stolen vehicles.

Det Supt Weinstein said the discovery of 20 stolen vehicles with fake number plates in recent weeks had led to the police breakthrough.

"In all the homicides or the shootings that have occurred, stolen vehicles using cloned number plates is the trademark of organised crime in the state presently," he said.

Two women and seven men were arrested, with five scheduled to face court on Friday.