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Police have arrested alleged gangland boss Fadi Haddara as part of an investigation into a series of gun and drug incidents in Melbourne’s west last year.
Detectives from Victoria Police’s designated illicit tobacco taskforce swooped on a property in Altona North about 9.30am on Friday and arrested the 45-year-old.
Convicted drug trafficker Fadi Haddara.
Haddara’s arrest is part of an investigation into two separate incidents involving firearms in 2022.
An alleged underworld figure who has been linked to wide-scale drug trafficking and violence, Haddara is subject to a firearm prohibition order that prevents him from having or obtaining guns and allows police officers to search him and those in his vicinity without a warrant.
Police claim they found three handguns and a homemade rifle at the premises next to Haddara’s former home on September 13 and 14 last year. The guns have since been forensically tested.
Investigators allege that Haddara was involved in a fight with a 40-year-old tobacco shop owner in Altona North just over two months later on November 29, which ended up with the man discharging a firearm. No one was injured during the incident.
Officers also arrested a 41-year-old man from Delahey and a 49-year-old man from Altona Meadows on Friday as part of the investigation.
The 41-year-old man was arrested over a car search in Colac in August this year when police found a quantity of the party drug GHB, while the 49-year-old man was arrested over an outstanding Viper taskforce warrant after failing to appear in court on a range of drug-related charges.
“Taskforce Lunar detectives are looking at these matters as part of the overall investigation into the current dispute in relation to illicit tobacco given the parties involved,” police said in a statement.
The taskforce was launched in early October to tackle the explosion in violent crime that has erupted this year between rival Middle Eastern organised crime syndicates vying for control of the illicit tobacco trade.
The Karizma restaurant was badly damaged in the attacks. Credit: Wayne Taylor
Detectives are investigating whether two arson attacks at Haddara’s Docklands restaurant, Karizma, are linked to the feud, which had led to more than 30 arson attacks across the state.
The restaurant was destroyed last month after arsonists firebombed the venue twice in three days, forcing the evacuation of dozens of apartment residents living above the venue.
Police want to speak to anyone who has information about the incidents, especially shop owners and staff. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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