Arrests over killing of Pasquale Barbaro 'phase one' in underworld crackdown: police
Four men once connected to the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang have been charged with the execution-style murder of Sydney crime figure Pasquale Barbaro in the city's south.
The four were among nine men, aged between 18 and 29, charged on Tuesday following 13 coordinated raids across Sydney that senior police said was "phase one" in a crackdown on the city's underworld.
Officers also seized more than 40 phones, 11 cars, a safe, cash and stolen NSW Police identification. Police said they had already seized 43 firearms and 15 prohibited weapons including ballistic vests and silencers from their investigations into the group.
Tuesday's arrests follow the formation of Strike Force Osprey earlier this month in the days after Mr Barbaro, who had links to the Calabrian Mafia, was shot dead at Earlwood on November 14.
Strike Force Osprey was established to examine Mr Barbaro's death and seven other unsolved underworld killings in Sydney in the last 18 months.
It is understood the four men charged with Mr Barbaro's murder were members of Burwood chapter of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle club but have since left the group.
Among those charged with murder is Abuzar Sultani, a university student who was a close associate and employee of Sydney construction industry figure George Alex.
Mr Barbaro was shot dead as he left the Earlwood home of Mr Alex. Police do not believe Mr Alex is anyway involved in the murder.
The four men will appear in court on Wednesday charged with murder along with a fifth man who police allege was part of their criminal group.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Frank Mennilli said Tuesday's raids were carried out at Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point, Baulkham Hills, Gladesville, Merrylands, Constitution Hill, Meadowbank, Five Dock, Alexandria, Silverwater and North Rocks.
He said he expected the nine arrests to be the first of many.
"There is no end game," he said. "We will continue to target these individuals through methodical investigations and disruption strategies. There will be ongoing arrests. We will be protecting the state of NSW.
"We will be not tolerating any individual who has a total disregard for the community of this state and its laws."
Fairfax Media has been told Mr Barbaro, a man with countless enemies in the criminal underworld, and Mr Sultani had a long tension-prone history.
While Mr Sultani was known to act as an alleged "heavyweight for hire" he had been suspected of carrying out his own violence for his own reasons in the past, police say.
He is believed to be the alleged ringleader in the slaying of Mr Barbaro.
Strike Force Osprey is also examining the deaths of two members of the Rebels bikie club, including that of Mark Easter. Mr Easter was the sergeant-at-arms of the Rebel's Sydney City chapter, who was last seen leaving his Little Bay home in June 2015.
His bullet-ridden body was found dumped in bushland off the Pacific Highway at Cowan, north of Sydney, days later.
Police believed Mr Easter's death was an "inside job" orchestrated and carried out by someone within the bikie ranks.
The story Arrests over killing of Pasquale Barbaro 'phase one' in underworld crackdown: police first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.