Mohammed Hamzy being arrested by authorities.
by, Yoni Bashan, Mark Morri And Simon Black | The Daily Telegraph – Australia
THEY call him “Little Crazy” or “LC” for short.
Sydney, Australia: He’s 28, drives a $150,000 Mustang, keeps a white Range Rover in the driveway and, according to police, lives on a disability support pension.
But yesterday, Mohammed Hamzy, as he is known to authorities and adults, was locked up as part of coordinated raids across southwestern Sydney aimed at solving a murder and dismantling the organised crime menace known as Brothers 4 Life (BFL).
As the most high-value target, the arrest of Hamzy – the gang’s Sydney leader – was hailed as a significant blow to the gang.
Despite their apparent brotherhood, members have been murdered and several others have narrowly escaped death.
The police operation to end the gang’s stranglehold was weeks in the planning, with bleary-eyed officers living on only a few hours sleep each night as they worked to dismantle the disorganised network.
Just hours after more gun violence erupted at a cafe in Bankstown, tactical officers swooped on more than a dozen homes and businesses linked to BFL members across southwestern Sydney early yesterday, arresting 10 members.
The most significant charges were laid against Hamzy and five other cohorts over the unsolved October 2012 slaying of BFL member Yehye Amood, 27, who was gunned down as he sat in a Mercedes on Greenacre Rd.
Parramatta “captain” Omar Ajaj, who sports a “MEOC” on his neck, was also yesterday put in handcuffs. Others taken off the street were Adam Dowidar, 25, Mohamed Kouaider, 28, and Tugay Calak, 23.
Ajaj was the last person arrested and, having survived an attempt on his life in Revesby Heights only a week ago, was yesterday escorted to the police station on crutches.
Separate charges were also laid against the six men over the 2012 kneecapping of another BFL member Khaled Khalil – also known as Alex Ali – who was shot at Yagoona one week before Amood was slain.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said a split in the BFL and numerous feuds were behind the public displays of violence in recent months.
“It’s difficult to classify it as one type of conflict – whether it’s a power struggle or people simply being offended about something that’s been said, and acting in a quite irrational way by shooting someone instead of arguing,” he said.
“It’s probably a combination of three or four factors that led to the conflict.”
Amood was gunned down alongside fellow gang member Bassam Hijazi, 32, who survived the attack. Hijazi was the intended target, who at the time was trying to disassociate himself from the group.
He fled to Lebanon but returned earlier this year, allegedly surfacing unexpectantly in a Louis Vuitton shop in the CBD – after it had closed. He was released on bail.
Police have spent months profiling the BFL gang, which is loosely structured but influenced by the ranking system used by the US mafia.
Chapters have “bosses, captains and lieutenants” who command seniority over underlings recruited to carry out their dirty work.
The police operation was also unexpectedly boosted yesterday by the arrests of four more BFL members, all belonging to the gang’s Blacktown chapter, effectively crippling them.
Jamil Qaumi, 21, Wahed Karimi, 18, Mobin Merzaei, 22, and Sarkhel Rokhzayi, 22, were all charged with allegedly using a shotgun when they opened fire on three men – rival BFL members – at Bankstown cafe Chokolatta about 12.20am yesterday.
The three wounded men, Abdul Abu-Mahmoud, Hassan Souied and Khalil Khalil, have been confirmed as members of the gang’s Bankstown chapter.
“One camp has been trying to make money off associates of another camp,” one senior investigator said.
In any case, the feuding has played out in public and brought about the increased police attention which has now cut the BFL off at the knees.
The violence flared up on October 29 when Mahmoud Hamzy, the cousin of BFL founder Bassam Hamzy, was murdered at Revesby Heights alongside Ajaj, who was wounded.
Four days later senior BFL figure Michael Odisho, 27, the only non-Muslim in the BFL, was shot outside his mother’s home at Winston Hills.
The following day a 13-year-old girl was hit by shotgun pellets after shots were fired at her home on Sunnyholt Road at Blacktown.
Police are investigating whether the same shotgun was used in the Chokolatta shooting.