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Shootings linked to Middle Eastern gangs fighting over ice, says top cop

The recent spate of drive-by shootings and firearm incidents in Melbourne has strong links to Middle Eastern crime gangs fighting over ice, a top cop says.

Acting Commander Peter de Santo, head of Victoria Police’s anti-gang division, believes rival gangs fighting over drug distribution are behind a number of recent shootings.

There have been nine gun-related incidents in Melbourne in the last fortnight, prompting the state government to rush through changes to gun laws before Christmas.

But Commander Santo has moved to quell fears the city is in the midst of a gang war.

‘I don’t think we are in the middle of any gang warfare,’ he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW Mornings.

‘The Middle Easterns unfortunately have this reputation for seeking retribution against their own by doing drive-bys.’

He said the public in general is not at risk, but admitted ‘sometimes these people get the wrong houses’.

Police are dealing with an increase in illegal guns on the street, he said, but it was difficult to quantify how many firearms are out there.

‘There are no doubts that our borders are being penetrated,’ he said.

LISTEN: Anti-gang top cop Peter De Santo joins Neil Mitchell