$1 Million Reward To Help Solve Gangland ‘Execution’ Of Raphael Joseph

Police have said they know he was 'betrayed by someone he trusted'.

The last time gangland figure Raphael Joseph was seen, he was getting into the back seat of a silver Holden Commodore in Sydney’s west.  

That was the night of March 20, 2014. Police now have information to suggest he was taken to a nearby home where he was “executed” by people who were known to him. But they need more answers.

New South Wales Police on Wednesday announced a $1 million reward for information about the 37-year-old’s suspected murder -- an “investigative technique” that is hoped to entice his close associates to come forward.

Police believe Raphael Joseph was kidnapped in Auburn after he was last seen getting into a car in Auburn in March 2014. Image: NSW Police

“We know that the people involved in his murder were known to him. We know that he was murdered for financial gain and betrayed by people he trusted,” Homicide Squad Commander Detective Inspector Scott Cook said on Wednesday.

“We know that those people are still about and we are really interested in getting in contact with people who are close to him.”

Joseph is a known underworld figure, believed to have been a founding member of crime gang DLASTHR (The Last Hour).

Six years before his disappearance, Joseph had been extradited from the US over his suspected role in a fatal shooting in 2002 which sparked a crime wave in the Sydney’s southwest. He was charged with murder but the case was later dropped.

Joseph was last seen getting into the back seat of a silver Holden Commodore. Image: NSW Police

Announcing the reward on Wednesday, Det. Insp. Cook revealed more details about his death,  following his last sighting at 11.20pm on Dartbrook Road in Auburn.

“We know that following that, he was taken to a residence nearby where he was executed,” he said. 

“We know that his body was put into a 44-gallon drum and then transferred to a white Toyota Hiace where he was driven to a location and his body was disposed of.”

For several days in February, crews -- including the riot and bomb squads  -- unsuccessfully searched a property at Blaxlands Ridge for Joseph’s body.

“We do not expect to locate his remains,” Det. Insp. Cook said on Wednesday.

Police combed a property at Blaxlands Ridge in the Hawkesbury in Febuary this year. Image: AAP via NSW Police

Detectives have located and seized three vehicles -- the silver Holden Commodore and two Hiace vans -- that they believe were used to transport Joseph’s body. Inside the vehicles were hidden compartments used to conceal drugs.

The home where he is believed to have been murdered has also been identified.

Det. Insp. Cook defended a $1 million reward as an “investigative technique”, despite the possibility it could end up in the hands of criminals.

“From a philosophical point of view, everyone should be getting a $1 million reward. But the value of the reward is not indicative of the value of the person.'

“For us, it’s about getting information. At this stage, we want to entice those people to come forward and provide us with the information that we need," he said. 

“Organised crime in NSW is not acceptable, organised crime executions are not acceptable. As a community we need to resolve these matters and lock these people up."

With AAP.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.