SYDNEY, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Australia's running battle with gun-toting bikie gangs may have hit a turning point Tuesday with police launching a synchronized sting across Sydney.
Witnesses from various locations saw heavily armed police, aided by the dog squad raiding a series of known hideouts and properties across Sydney and Sydney's troubled "wild west" as part of a co-ordinated hit on bikies and their weapons and illegal drug networks.
Reports that series of properties to the south of Sydney in the port region of Wollongong are also believed to have been raided, although this has not yet been confirmed.
Police informed media that shortly after 6 a.m. local time, police officers numbering in their "hundreds" raided at least four properties, in Sydney's CBD and the outer suburbs of Sydney's sprawling west.
Police say the properties are linked to the outlawed motorcycle clubs (OMC) internationally known as the Hells Angels and Comanchero bikie gangs.
A number of people, believed to be senior members of those clubs, are in custody. Police have told media that raids are also being carried out in other undisclosed locations.
Sydney has been caught in a violent wave of gun crime for almost two years, mainly in the western suburbs which has seen almost weekly tit-for-tat shootings and drive by attacks.
Police say the shootings related to territorial conflicts over the illicit drug trade. Strike Force Alistair was established by the Organized Crime Squad (OCS) and the NSW Crime Commission in 2011.
Earlier this month NSW police made Australia's largest ever ice (amphetamine) bust, taking in almost half a billion dollars of the highly addictive drug.
Police said the raids were part of a long-running investigation into the supply of firearms and drugs to organized crime groups.
The strike force has been desperately seeking to stem the supply of guns, drugs and explosives to organized crime groups, with some of those items allegedly destined for outlaw motorcycle clubs.
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