Further charges in foiled rapper kill plot

A third member of a criminal cell allegedly hired to kill gang rivals is being held by police as they crack down on those behind a thwarted murder plot.

Police believe the group is behind multiple contract kidnappings and a plan to target Sydney-based drill rap group ONEFOUR.

The cell's alleged leader Brandon Maseuli was arrested in a raid in Sydney's southwest in January.

The 26-year-old was charged with a raft of offences, including conspiracy to murder and kidnapping, as well as weapons, drug and robbery-related crimes.

Yousef Rima, 20, was also arrested and charged with similar conspiracy and drug offences.

Both men appeared in Liverpool Local Court where their bail was revoked.

Following further inquiries, detectives attended a correctional centre in Wellington in regional NSW where they arrested a 28-year-old man about 11am on Monday.

The man was charged with seven offences, including conspiring and agreeing to murder, and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, and participating in a criminal group.

He was remanded in custody to appear before Campbelltown Local Court next month. 

Organised Crime Squad commander Peter Faux alleged the cell had taken on a contract to murder four high-profile members of the rap group and had carried out extensive surveillance of the men.

ONEFOUR has attracted long-standing police attention for their music, which focuses on western Sydney gang subcultures and includes lyrics that frequently mention violence.

In 2019, they were forced to cancel a national tour after venues were unable to meet security requirements demanded by police.

Detective Superintendent Faux said the cell was believed to be linked to the Haouchar crime syndicate, which has largely been operated from gang leaders based in Lebanon.

It has been tied to $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency transactions and various firearm, drug, tobacco and money-laundering offences.

The splinter cell was also allegedly behind a kidnapping in March, the robbery of 39kg of cocaine from a truck driver in October, and a foiled December raid on a Ryde apartment that was housing more than 700kg in cocaine.

Police have charged 28 people with various offences related to organised crime as part of the probe, which detectives say has resulted in the Haouchar network being largely dismantled.

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