Two major, long-running international drug syndicates, allegedly run by rival Sydney crime figures, have been smashed after the arrest of 14 people, including three members of the notorious Ibrahim family. In one of the largest, most significant organised crime stings in Australian history, the brothers of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim – Michael Ibrahim and Fadi Ibrahim – were arrested in Dubai, alongside Sydney underworld figures Steven Fawaz Elmir, Haykan Arif and Mustapha Dib.
A total of 1.8 tonnes of MDMA, 136 kilograms of cocaine and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine was seized by authorities in the Netherlands before reaching Australian streets, the drugs would have a potential street value of up to $810 million.
More than $5.45 million in cash and assets was seized, which police will allege is the proceeds of crime.
In simultaneous raids in Sydney, police searched 28 properties across the city, including eastern suburbs homes belonging to John Ibrahim, and arrested his son Daniel Ibrahim and nine others.
Arrests were later made in the Netherlands where local police arrested two men.
"The best way to do that is to attack the top of the tree and we'll bring the tree down," Mr Gaughan said of the smashing of the syndicate. "We'll take the fight offshore and we're going to bring the men to justice."
The arrests follow an almost two-year investigation, known as Operation Veyda, which has also resulted in the seizure of 1.8 tonnes of ecstasy, 136 kilograms of cocaine, 15 kilograms of ice and $5.5 million in cash.
All of those drugs were destined for the Sydney market.
The arrests in Dubai are seen as significant because Australian criminal networks have long viewed the Gulf state as a place to do business, and hide, out of the reach of law enforcement.
"I think there is a perception by Australian criminal syndicates that they can operate in certain countries and be out of the reach of Australian law enforcement," Mr Gaughan said. "This is a very clear message that places like Dubai and the UAE more broadly are working with law enforcement to bring these people to justice. This is another example of Australian law enforcement working across cultures."
It is understood one syndicate involved Elmir and his associates Arif and Dib.
The other is believed to have involved the notorious Ahmad family, and Ahmad "Rock" Ahmad is among those arrested in Sydney on Tuesday.