International crime syndicate dismantled by NSW Police in large-scale operation
Police say they have dismantled "one of the most powerful" organised crime syndicates in Australia's history after a year-long investigation resulted in the arrests of 28 people.
Strike Force Tromperie was created by NSW Police's State Crime Command to target an underworld network from Lebanon, with the assistance of Australian Border Force. 
The group has been linked to the alleged movement of more than $1 billion via guns, drugs, tobacco and money laundering.
This week, officers conducted raids at 37 properties across Sydney and arrested 24 people who have been charged with serious offences.
There have been 28 arrests overall during the investigation.
Overseas, police believe one of NSW's most wanted men, Bilal Haouchar, was also arrested in Lebanon.
It will be alleged he played a key role in the syndicate.
Mr Haouchar left Sydney in 2018, where he is wanted for kidnapping and drug offences.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said authorities were still waiting on confirmation of the underworld figure's arrest.
"We are still awaiting a formal response from the Australian Federal Police … and we believe the 37-year-old has been taken into custody in Lebanon and we will work through that detail throughout the day."
His brother, Nedal Haouchar, was arrested at Sydney Airport this week.
The 40-year-old has been charged with with nine offences, including knowingly direct activities of criminal group, three counts of supply prohibited drugs, and five counts of deal with property proceeds of crime in excess of $4.4 million.
There were more than 450 officers involved in the raids in Sydney this week, at suburbs including Chipping Norton, Greenacre, Georges Hall, Roselands, San Souci and Granville.
Police uncovered two tonnes of drugs and precursors, 25 firearms, five of which were pistols, and 60 encrypted devices.
They were also large amounts of cash, designer jewellery and luxury cars that were seized.
Police claim the organisation has been "significantly disrupted if not eliminated" as a result of the widescale operation.
Deputy Commissioner Hudson said officers employed "covert strategies" to dismantle the network.
"Those strategies that we’ve engaged have certainly eliminated the threat of this crime network," he said.
"Potentially, they were the biggest criminal network and enterprise in Australia at the current time."
Assistant Commissioner Michael FitzGerald alleged the group had "plagued Sydney for the past decade".
“This has been a 12-month intense investigation into a criminal network that emanates out of Lebanon," he said.
"This criminal network has tentacles throughout Sydney and New South Wales.
“They will no longer be a problem for New South Wales.”
Detective Superintendent Peter Faux, who led the investigation, added that NSW Police had used "absolutely every resource" to "infiltrate this organised crime network".
"This organisation was involved in drugs, firearms, the manufacture of drugs, acts of violence, industrial scale of movement via cryptocurrency around the world."
The investigation into the network is ongoing and more charges are expected to be laid.
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Deputy Commissioner Hudson says investigations into a series of alleged gangland shootings in Sydney indicate the drug trade is a large factor in violence.
He did not elaborate what acts of violence this syndicate is allegedly involved in, but said there were some incidents linked to it.
"There has been conflict associated with this group, and we believe that has been resolved as well."
He believes further charges would be laid against some of the members in coming weeks.
One of NSW's most wanted men has been arrested in Lebanon, police believe.
Bilal Haouchar left Sydney in 2018, where he is wanted for offences including kidnapping.
"We are still awaiting a formal response from the Australian Federal Police … and we believe the 37-year-old has been taken into custody in Lebanon and we will work through that detail throughout the day."

It is alleged he was linked to this syndicate.
Another man was arrested at Sydney Airport earlier this week, who police allege he was "heavily involved in this matter".
Deputy Commissioner Hudson said there were "familial links" to the group with some members parts of the same family.
Police were still exploring activities overseas, but allege most of the criminal activity has been orchestrated offshore.
"Potentially they were biggest criminal network and enterprise in Australia."
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