8th Gangland Hit in 18 Months -- What's Going On In Aussie Underworld?

Pasquale "Tim" Barbaro was running for his life when a bullet dropped him flat. And dead.

Barbaro -- an Aussie who belonged to a fierce Ndrangheta clan known in Italy for drug trafficking, weapons dealing, and murder -- was gunned down this past Monday in Sydney at around 9:40 pm local time.

At the time of his death, Barbaro reportedly wasn't active in the Ndrangheta. He allegedly was more of a freelance gangster focused on drug dealing and extortion. (He also may have been a high-echelon informant, which possibly could be the motive for his shooting death, though motives are not in short supply in this case.)

He'd escaped a similar fate nearly a year ago to the very date when he miraculously survived a hail of gunfire in Leichhardt, a Sydney suburb.

Barbaro was shot dead as he departed associate George Alex's Earlwood home. He's lost family members prematurely, including his grandfather and a cousin. Both were murdered.

"One of his notorious mates, construction industry figure George Alex" and Barbaro "had enjoyed dinner" prior to the murder, the Sydney Morning Herald noted yesterday.

"There is nothing to suggest Alex was involved in his death."

At least one gunman leaped out of an Audi four-wheel-drive and opened fire on Barbaro. Witnesses heard as many as seven shots fired as the gangster hollered "open the door!" before he was struck down dead.

Police found the heavily-tattooed man sprawled face down on a footpath.

Pasquale "Tim" Barbaro was out on $350,000 bail; he'd been arrested on drug-related charges. He was known to regularly visit Alex, a close friend as well as an associate.

The hit was carried out hours before telephone recordings of Barbaro speaking to the head of a Middle Eastern street gang were to play at a trial in Sydney court. This currently is considered a coincidence, however.

The trial involves Farhad Qaumi, head of street gang Brothers 4 Life, who is being charged with a 2013 murder. Barbaro is not believed to have incriminated Qaumi. The two didn't know each other well, published reports noted, although surveillance footage caught them sitting together engaged in conversation at The Star casino in 2014 (see picture below).

Retaliatory Strike?

Barbaro was a suspect in last month's murder of rival gangster Hamad Assaad, law enforcement officials allege. Assad, in turn, was suspected of masterminding the failed attempt on Barbaro's life last year, the Daily Mail reported.

Farhad Qaumi, head of the Brothers 4 Life Blacktown chapter, and brother Mumtaz Qaumi is on trial in the superior court of New South Wales (NSW) for plotting the December 16, 2013, execution of construction industry figure Joe Antoun, 50, who was gunned down on his Strathfield home's doorstep in front of his family.

"A member of the Barbaros, of Griffith Calabrian Mafia fame, the clan have long been known to law enforcement authorities as one of the major organised crime families," noted the Sydney Morning Herald in a story that described Barbaro's slaying as "inevitable."

"Originally from the Calabrian township of Plati, known as Italy's "kidnap capital", the Barbaros rose to prominence during the Woodward Royal Commission when they were found to have been the principals behind Griffith's marijuana industry."

The Ndrangheta, which originated in Italy's southern Calabria region, currently controls the European cocaine trade and is considered one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world. It is deeply entrenched in Australia and Canada (and supposedly the United States, according to foreign-newspaper reports). The group's presence in New York has been confirmed.

Evil Life: The True Story of the Calabrian Mafia in Australia specifically focuses on the Ndrangheta's history in Australia, from the 1920s to the present.

As for the Ndrangheta and its vast outpost in Canada, alongside the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, there's highly credible and well-written books available, such as The Sixth Family and Mafia Inc.

According to current information, 31 Ndrangheta clans operate throughout Australia. They report to five clans located in Calabria (really nine clans, as marriage has served to expand and integrate).

Calabrian law-enforcement officials view the Barbaros, who are established in Plati, Calabria's capital, as major players in drug and weapons trafficking, notably to Spain and Colombia.

They also are known for murdering a lot of people.

One of Barbaro's Hotties...

Barbaro was headed home to see his girlfriend at their Harrington Park home when he was gunned down. According to the Daily Mail, she "has broken her silence, saying she is grieving for her dead lover and feels deeply sad for his family." 

Her name is Chantel Baptista. She was a professional dancer and says she was in a relationship with Barbaro when he was slain Monday night.

Barbaro, 35, reportedly was living with Baptista in Sydney’s south. The young woman’s mother lives there too.

"Pictures show her to be a social butterfly who is regularly showered in compliments for her bikini photographs," the Daily Mail noted, adding that she previously worked as a contract dancer at The Act, an operation located in the United Arab Emirates.

Acquaintances said Ms Baptista was reluctant to speak publicly - after other media wrongly identified another woman as Barbaro’s girlfriend.

The young beauty is voluptuous and curvy and of Portuguese descent. She told the media that she was "distressed" by her boyfriend’s killing. 

Barbaro was rumored to be a high-ranking informant, which could be a motive if any of the criminal organizations he was linked to had found this out.

According to the Herald story from yesterday, however, Barbaro may not have been an active Ndrangheta member when he was slain:

"Tattooed, pumped up at the gym, flashing gleaming Rolex watches and driving only the most showy and expensive cars such as his $2 million black Lamborghini, he traded off his infamous family’s links to the Mafia even though he had distanced himself from that particular criminal group," the Herald noted.

The Strike Force Osprey was established Thursday to investigate Barbaro's murder. Sydney's gangland death toll has reached eight in the past 18 months.

Barbaro was previously married and has two children. He supposedly has a list of girlfriends. 

Sorry, Chantal...

Law enforcement officials and cops meet where Barbaro was shot dead.

Called “The Boss," Barbaro lived in Leichhardt’s Italian Forum. He was known to wear a bullet-proof vest (though he didn't wear one on Monday night when he was killed). His bodyguard "The Shadow" tailed him.

"Barbaro was what he looked like, a well-connected gangster on the rise as he played the tough-guy game with Sydney’s other underworld figures" as they sought to earn out of Sydney's low-class Kings Cross section. An inner-city locality and Sydney's infamous red-light district, "The Cross," as locals call it, is bounded by places like Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Darlinghurst.

The Cross, Sydney's Redlight Section

For years it's reputed to have served as a stomping ground for gangsters.

The post-WWII return of local troops from the nearby naval base supposedly helped ignite the region's general decline into a destination where illicit gratification is available on tap.

Today, it is home to gyms, supermarkets, bakeries, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, as well as brothels and strip clubs.


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