BIKER NEWS: Warring families, ice trade fuel Melbourne’s spate of drive-by shootings VIA: heraldsun | Outlaws Bikers News

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BIKER NEWS: Warring families, ice trade fuel Melbourne’s spate of drive-by shootings VIA: heraldsun

BIKER NEWS -- THEY are young, angry, and ready for trouble. A high-calibre weapon sits ready on the car’s back seat, and the tho...



BIKER NEWS -- THEY are young, angry, and ready for trouble.

A high-calibre weapon sits ready on the car’s back seat, and the thought of firing it sends a shiver of excitement up the shooter’s spine.

He has his orders — to send a message to the target: pay up; or, maybe, back off.

He and his driver have spent hours tracking their target, watching his movements: when he leaves in the morning and returns in the evening; the car he drives; where he parks; when he goes to bed; who else is in the house.

When the lights go out, and the household has settled down for the night — that’s when they will strike.

They will cruise up the street, pull out the weapon, and open fire. They’ll pepper the house with gunfire — enough to scare the hell out of the occupants, maybe even hurt the target a little bit.

That’s the modus operandi of a drive-by shooting, of which there have been 11 in and around Melbourne this year — six this month alone.

Police believe they stem from a power vacuum left by the jailing of a major crime figure and violent members of five families with crime links.

Money and drugs, including methamphetamine, are implicated in many.

Tuesday’s shooting in Darebin Drive, Thomastown, in which a man was killed and his son, 4, wounded, was not the first northern suburbs drive-by shooting to turn into a murder inquiry.

Five years ago, in Campbellfield, Iraqi-born panelbeater Saleh Dheibech was shot dead as he welded outside his workshop.

The fatal round was fired from a Subaru WRX; detectives believe those in the car were involved in other northern suburbs shootings.

One of the suspects in Mr Dheibech’s death, the Shadow, is a member of a feared crime family.

Linked to other drive-by shootings, armed robberies and standover activities, he was arrested last year over allegations that he was involved in a multi-million-dollar drug operation.

By then he had done a lot of damage, schooling younger men in crime.

One of the Shadow’s co-offenders in the drugs matter is a well-connected bikie gang figure, Smiley.

Smiley was present when another man connected to Melbourne’s middle-eastern crime scene, Karl Kay, was executed at Altona Meadows earlier this year.

Smiley was a social media friend of a man who was at the back of the Darebin Drive property when the fatal shots rang out on Tuesday.

Smiley’s other associates include a teenager who has been implicated in terrifying armed robberies carried out at gunpoint, and an older relative of the teen, who is also a player in the outlaw motorcycle gang scene.

The Shadow and Smiley came to power about the time drug lord Mohammed Oueida was taken off the streets in April 2011.

Oueida was arrested as he attempted to fly a plane out of the country, aware that police were about to pounce.

In December 2012, he was jailed for 8½ years, with a non-parole term of 5½ years, after pleading guilty to trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamines, dealing in the proceeds of crime and possessing an unregistered semi-automatic rifle

The Santiago taskforce also began locking up members of five families who had been flexing their muscles in Melbourne’s north and west: the Kheirs, Tibas, Kassabs, Haddaras and Chaouks.

But this has not slowed the proliferation of guns, shootings and organised crime. It may have accelerated it.

Ouieda, whose lawyer once described him as a “terrible show-off’’, was linked to at least two families, members of which were notoriously involved in gun crime in Melbourne’s north, commonly known as the “red zone’’.


Ouieda had stepped into a vacuum left by jailed gangland figures, such as Tony Mokbel, to build his drug empire.

He lived in Greenvale mansion with a private golf course valued at almost $3 million, drove a Ferrari, had a private plane, and was influential in Melbourne’s north.

Ouieda and his bikie associates were even able to sniff out a covert — and tiny — police camera trained on a factory where abducted enemies would be bashed.

Victims mostly refuse to co-operate with police, for fear of reprisals.

The Australian Federal Police described Ouieda as the “head of an organised crime syndicate involved in large scale manufacture and trafficking of narcotics’’.

But even a drug boss has a boss. At one point, a court heard, Oueida was kidnapped by members of a ruthless Middle Eastern crime family who feared no one — not even a rich, bikie-connected underworld figure like him.

By 2010, police were probing abductions, bashings, shootings, drug and firearms trafficking, passport crimes and attempted murder.

They were also looking into powerful families. In Melbourne’s north, it was members of the Kheir, Tiba and Kassab families; in the west, members of the Haddara and Chaouk clans.

Even Ouieda claimed he feared the Kheirs, with whom he was involved in crime.

A court heard he blamed his own crimes on the pressure they applied for money.

When some of the Kheirs weren’t involved in shootings — such as one at a house in Coolaroo in 2009, in which 10 shots were fired and several men were injured — some of their cousins, the Kassabs, were.

By 2011, members of the Kassab family were involved in a tit-for-tat war with members of the Tiba family.

Ali Kassab was shot when convicted criminal Omar Taha and another man, Ahmad Mohamad, were killed by a gunman at a Brunswick panel-beating shop.

Taha was first cousin to Hany Taha, who was acquitted of terrorism charges in 2008.

No two warring families were as infamous as the Haddaras and Chaouks.

A source said to protect himself from any murder charge, Fadi Haddara — who last month was jailed for 23 months on drugs and firearms charges — would put a helmet on the head of an abductee, so a baseball bat blow to the head wouldn’t kill the man.

In a neighbouring suburb, Braybrook, were the Chaouks, some of whom were tied to the Hells Angels. Several Angels attended the funeral of patriarch Macchour, who was shot dead in August 2010.

His son, Ali, is a patched-up member serving a jail sentence. Earlier this year the youngest son, Omar, mistakenly fired a pistol into his own groin.

He was charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a gun. The Herald Sun is not suggesting Omar is involved in any of the family’s criminal activities.

This article was first published on October 30, 2015 7:38pm
Get a copy of heraldsun or go to heraldsun.com.au for more stories.

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Warring families, ice trade fuel Melbourne’s spate of drive-by shootings VIA: heraldsun
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