• Tony Bosworth

Stolen high performance vehicles in Maraylya shed lead to alleged crime syndicate arrests

Criminal Groups Squad detectives have charged five people after nine stolen vehicles were recovered at rural Maraylya as part of ongoing inquiries into the activities of alleged organised crime syndicates operating across Sydney.

The Maraylya police operation was just one in a string of events which have led to the break-up of an alleged major criminal operation.

Arrest at Canterbury by Raptor Squad yesterday - man charged with alleged crimes linked to Maraylya stolen vehicles

The story begins earlier this year when detectives from the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad set-up Strike Force Newnham to investigate the activities of alleged organised crime syndicates operating across Sydney.

Events unfolded after a bag of lost property was handed in to officers at Macquarie Fields Police Station by a taxi driver back in May – inside that bag police found two loaded pistols and an electronic stun device wrapped in towels.

A ballistic examination by specialist police linked one of the firearms to a public place shooting incident at Bridge Road, Westmead, on Tuesday June 9, 2020.

As a result of investigations, strike force detectives, with assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), used a search warrant at a property at Summer Hill and another property at Maraylya on Friday 30 July.

At the Maraylya search, investigators seized prohibited drugs, registration plates and seven stolen high-performance vehicles – including a Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi S5 and two BMW vehicles – with a combined estimated value of more than $500,000.

High performance stolen vehicles recovered in a shed at Maraylya earlier this year

A further two vehicles – a black Mercedes AMG and black BMW M3 – were seized by police after two tow trucks were stopped by officers on the M4 Motorway the same day.

A 29-year-old man was arrested at the Maraylya property and taken to Castle Hill Police Station, where he was charged with four offences including; attempt receive property theft (serious indictable offence), possess prohibited drug, possess/attempt to prescribed restricted substance, and receiving.

He appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 25 August, where he was granted conditional bail.

The man will next appear at the same court on Wednesday 15 September 2021, where an additional 20 charges will be heard, including;

· Attempt receive motor vehicle part theft – serious indictable (x2),

· goods suspected stolen in custody of other – motor vehicle (x2),

· receive motor vehicle part theft – serious indictable offence (x7),

· goods suspected stolen in/on premises – motor vehicle (x7),

· supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and,

· possess prohibited drug.

A 36-year-old man was arrested during a vehicle stop at Summer Hill a short time later on Friday 30 July. He was taken to Burwood Police Station and charged with two counts of possess prohibited drug, drive while licence cancelled, contravene public safety order, possess unauthorised pistol, acquire pistol subject to firearms prohibition order, acquire ammunition subject to prohibition order and possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority.

Police will allege in court that the man was in possession of the firearm left in a taxi in May this year. He appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 31 July 2021 and is next due to appear at Campbelltown Local Court on Tuesday 12 October.

A 30-year-old man was arrested at Penrith Police Station about 3.30pm the following day (Saturday 31 July). He was charged with two counts of possess unauthorised pistol, possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit. Police will allege in court that the man was in possession of a firearm left in a taxi in May this year. The man appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday (1 August), and is next due to appear at Campbelltown Local Court on Wednesday 13 October.

All vehicles and items located during the operation, were seized and subject to extensive forensic examination.

Following further investigations, strike force detectives, assisted by officers attached to Raptor Squad, executed a search warrant at a home at Canterbury just before 8am yesterday (Wednesday 8 September).

During the search, officers seized cash, numerous vehicle keys, a police strobe light, documentation and other items which will undergo forensic examination.

Two men – aged 24 and 53 – were arrested and taken to Burwood Police Station, where both men were charged with 20 offences including;

· knowingly facilitate organised car rebirthing activity

· participate criminal group contribute criminal activity

· receive motor vehicle part-theft serious indictable offence more than $5000 (x9)

· goods suspected stolen given other not entitled (motor vehicle) (x9)

Police will allege in court that the men were involved in obtaining the nine stolen vehicles located at Maraylya earlier this year.

Both men were refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court today - Thursday.

Criminal Groups Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor, said detectives have identified several lines of inquiry and potential links between the stolen vehicles and organised criminal activity.

“Initial inquiries indicate that most, if not all of these nine vehicles, have been used in organised criminal activity across Greater Sydney,” Det Supt Taylor said.

“Specialist police have been conducting a thorough forensic examination of the vehicles and the locations they were found in, while investigators continue to canvass surrounding suburbs.

“As investigations continue, police are interested in speaking with anyone who has noticed high-end vehicles coming and going from locations in their local area.

“We know there are many in the community who are affected by COVID-19 and spending more time at home. It is possible that your observations may be of great assistance to police.

“Sydney and its surrounding suburbs have recently been plagued with violent criminal activity that is now firmly under the microscope of police,” Det Supt Taylor said.

Investigations under Strike Force Newnham continue.

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