Police have identified a vehicle linked to the 2014 disappearance and suspected murder of a NSW man.Detectives believe they know who murdered Sydney gangland figure Raphael Joseph in 2014 and they’re hoping a large-scale search on the city’s outskirts will uncover his remains.
NSW Police say 37-year-old Joseph was likely murdered by fellow drug dealers in March 2014 in a botched attempt to extract money from the international crime figure.
He was last seen getting into the back of a silver Holden Commodore at McDonald’s in Auburn, but exactly what happened after that wasn’t known until a recent breakthrough in the case.
Now, homicide squad Detective Chief Inspector Grant Taylor says investigators are confident they know who killed Joseph almost four years ago.
“We have established that Raphael was kidnapped by a drug supply syndicate, taken to a premise, which is known to us, and there he was inevitably murdered,” Chief Insp Taylor told reporters on Tuesday.
“We know very well there were several people involved in this murder, we know who they are, and they can expect a visit from us in the near future.”
Police believe Joseph willingly got into the silver Holden Commodore at the McDonald’s with at least two men he knew.
From there he was driven to a building – which has since been examined by police – and murdered.
Investigators say his body was likely then transported using a white Toyota HiAce to a property on Putty Road at Blaxlands Ridge.
Police on Tuesday started searching that property. Forensic officers and the riot and bomb squads are involved in the multi-day search which is utilising excavators.
The white van, the Commodore and a third vehicle believed to have been used by the drug syndicate have all been forensically examined. They contained secret compartments in the dashboards believed to have been used to transport drugs.
Chief Insp Taylor is urging those who didn’t play a major role in Joseph’s murder to “help themselves” and come forward with additional information.
Six years before his disappearance, Joseph had been extradited from the United States over his suspected role in in the fatal shooting of Dimitri Debaz in the Sefton car park of the Playhouse Hotel in 2002, which sparked a wave of crime in the city’s southwest.
Joseph was charged with murder but the case was later dropped.
Known as Huss or Hussany to his mates and family, Joseph pleaded with US authorities to keep him in the country because an n crime family had placed a $100,000 bounty on his head.
He also claimed members of Sydney’s Bronx Boys gang wanted to murder him and his lawyer previously filed documents in court alleging his friends and associates had been kidnapped and tortured.