the city’s love affair with cocaine and the carnage it wreaked

Record cocaine prices in Australia – surpassed only in two Gulf states where drug supply carries the death penalty – have also increased risks, attracting not only more criminal gangs, including some overseas, but less sophisticated ones as well.

It may be dangerous. One person with in-depth knowledge of organized crime said, on condition of anonymity, that reckless, amateur criminals are more likely to make hasty decisions and dirty mistakes.

Sydney criminal defense lawyer Mahmoud Abbas was shot dead outside his home in Greenacre.

Sydney criminal defense lawyer Mahmoud Abbas was shot dead outside his home in Greenacre.Credit: TNV

“I would much rather have someone at the top who knows how to discipline his team,” they said.

Newcomers were less likely to respect the conventions that used to give the drug trade a loose order. “Nobody stays in their lane,” said Kirsty Schofield, Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, recently, and the resulting tensions have led to bloody and public reckonings.

Police have also warned that drug crackdowns that don’t result in arrests exacerbate the problem as criminals take retaliation into their own hands.

Amid the recent public outcry, New South Wales Police are directing resources to address the issue.

It has combined seven separate investigations that it suspects are linked into a task force and hired additional staff. There are now 100 officers on duty. It’s an old strategy based on a decades-old playbook, aimed at calming the community and placating hungry media.

The first of these seven is the daylight “mode of execution” of Marvin Oraiha, who was shot dead in his car in western Sydney in May.

These include the killing a month ago of Alen Moradian, a notorious criminal also known as Fathead, in Bondi and the shooting dead of two men in early July in front of customers at a hair salon in Sydney’s inner west, less than 100 meters from Marrickville Police Station .

The task force known as Magnus will also focus on two shootings in Greenacre over the past week; the killing of 25-year-old Ahmad Al-Azzam while he was in his car; and the shooting dead of prominent lawyer Mahmoud Abbas, who was hit in the leg and torso outside his home on Wednesday morning.

From left: Alen Moradian, Ferenc Stemler, Ahmad Al-Azzam, Mahmoud Abbas.

From left: Alen Moradian, Ferenc Stemler, Ahmad Al-Azzam, Mahmoud Abbas.

The latest case is the murder of Ferenc David Stemler, 28, at 2am Thursday in Canterbury, south-west Sydney. On Friday, there was a bouquet of white roses pinned to a nearby street sign that read “RIP D-Teddy,” along with a shrine of incense and Esse Slim cigarettes.

The police face a difficult task. In most cases, burnt-out cars were found nearby, meaning much of the evidence had been burned. The victims are afraid to open up. Deputy Police Commissioner David Hudson described it as a wall of silence.

“We’ve had victims who survived their attacks and refused to talk to us, refused to tell us why they were the target of another group or another person,” he said. Hudson warned that there were often only two ways out of the drug business: take the police car to jail or take the hearse to the cemetery.


In an interview with the herald On Friday, he also reminded cocaine users in Sydney that there was a darker side to their fun-filled evening. “I think cocaine users could get it through friendly transactions with trusted insiders from the same social circle as themselves,” he said.

“But there is a whole route that this drug gets into this country that is the seedy underbelly of the cocaine trade to New South Wales and Australia. And some of the results we’ve seen on the streets of Sydney are the product of this seedy underbelly of trading.

“People think it’s a pristine product, but you know there’s a totally illegal trade going on… the people consuming it would never come into contact with those transporting it.”

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Justin Scaccy

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