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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Double murder in Canberra is a dramatic escalation of bikie violence

Double murder in Canberra is a dramatic escalation of bikie violence, triggered by an increasingly brutal turf war on the eastern seaboard.Hours after police locked up high-ranking Sydney bikie Mahmoud Dib, emergency services crews were called to a southern Canberra home near where two men had been fatally shot. ACT Police would not confirm or deny media reports that the shooting at the house in Couchman Crescent, Chisholm, was linked to bikie gangs. "We are looking at all possible circumstances surrounding this incident and that will include any possible associations that these persons may have had with any groups," a spokeswoman said.
One man was found dead from gunshot wounds in the front yard of the home; another was discovered in a rear yard. A gun was recovered from the scene. A man was arrested and taken to Tuggeranong police station for questioning. One of the residents, who was too scared to be identified, said the home was clearly a drug house and was always full of young people. But he had not seen motorbikes parked outside. "It's definitely drug-related, there are always a lot of cars there, people turning up all the time," he said. Another resident said her 10-year-old daughter heard the gunfire and was terrified. "The police told us not to leave the house, and we've been stuck ever since," she said. Residents believed there could be two homes in the street occupied by bikies or their affiliates. They were concerned about possible connections between yesterday's shootings and the alleged killing by Comancheros of a Hell's Angels associate at Sydney airport on Sunday. Mr Dib was arrested at his western Sydney home on firearms offences by police investigating a string of drive-by shootings. The sergeant-at-arms of the Bandidos' Parramatta chapter was taken into custody after a pre-dawn raid by heavily armed police on his home at Auburn. The arrest followed the 11th drive-by shooting in western Sydney in the past six days, including attacks on Mr Dib's Park Street home on Monday and on the home of a relative of his in nearby Pine Road. Mr Dib, 27, was charged with six firearms offences over a loaded gun police found in his car last Monday.
Acting Superintendent Angelo Memmolo, from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, said Mr Dib was not in the car when police found the .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol -- loaded with seven bullets -- but had been in the area. No drugs or weapons were found in the 6am raid on Mr Dib's home, but police seized two Harley-Davidson motorcycles they believe may have been stolen. Anthony Zervas -- the 29-year-old brother of a Hell's Angels member -- was bashed to death at Sydney airport on Sunday with metal bollards. Police have not ruled out that bikies were behind a western Sydney drive-by shooting on Monday targeting a Merrylands home containing two adults and three children. Yesterday, Mr Dib sat silently throughout his brief appearance at Burwood Local Court. Magistrate Michael Dakin agreed to a request for an adjournment from Mr Dib's lawyer, Mohammed Masri, for a bail hearing until Friday and formally refused bail.

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