Who is Meshlin Marrogi and why did thieves just try to steal her body?

Meshlin Marrogi was a shrewd businesswoman. 

She'd spent years launching a series of businesses in her hometown of Melbourne, establishing a name for herself as an entrepreneurial force.

Then, in the prime of her life, just 30 years old, Meshlin was struck down by COVID-19. The year was 2021 – the peak of the pandemic – and the virus ultimately claimed her life, devastating her family and friends. 

Just three years later, Meshlin's grave was set upon by what police described as 'vandals'. But her grave wasn't just desecrated. The attackers broke into a mausoleum at her resting place - the Preston General Cemetery, smashing open the young woman's coffin, after dragging it some distance.

Watch: Meshlin Marrogi's grave smashed three years after her death. Post continues after video.

Video via 7News.

The question is: why? Why would anyone want to break into the coffin of Meshlin Marrogi?

Who was Meshlin Marrogi?

Meshlin's family moved to Australia from Iraq in 1996, the year the United States commenced its Desert Strike. The Marrogis – including Meshlin's brothers Jesse and George – fled the war-torn country, settling in Melbourne.


It's what transpired over the next two decades that would set the Marrogis apart from the average Aussie family. While Meshlin focused her attention on developing businesses, her brother, George's life spiralled into a one of serious crime. Armed Robbery. Manslaughter. Murder. 

In fact, George Marrogi would go on to become one of Australia's most feared underworld killers, and the head of what became known as the Notorious Crime Family (NCF) empire.

Meshlin's brother, George Marrogi. Image: 7News Australia.


Police are now investigating whether the attack on Meshlin's grave was a gangland message to her brother, who's currently serving a 32-year sentence for the 2016 murder of drug dealer Kadir Ors. Ors was peppered with bullets during the shocking broad daylight murder.

At the time of George's sentencing, Justice Paul Coghlan described the execution-style killing as "one of the most blatant examples of murder I have ever seen."

Meshlin's death was said to have had a huge impact on her brother, who was imprisoned at the time, and therefore unable to attend her funeral.

It's been reported that the siblings were shopping together when the crime boss chose the notorious Nike hoodie worn during Ors' murder – a garment that proved instrumental in his being found guilty.

Last year, George was charged with directing a drug syndicate from inside jail, and to this day, remains one of Australia's most feared men. 

Meshlin was a much-loved member of the Marrogi family and wider community. Her passing prompted an outpouring of love from mourners, including notorious gangland figure, Tony Mokbel, who expressed his condolences to the family via a death notice in the Herald Sun.  

"Dear George Marrogi family, our sincere condolences, sending you love, strength and support in this very sad and difficult time. God Bless. From Tony Mokbel and family and Emido and Michelle," the tribute said. 


What was Meshlin's role in the NCF?

According to recent reports, Meshlin has been credited for playing a significant role in the rise of NFC, with police claiming her "personality and talent for business led to the crime gang diversifying into a wide array of business interests".

Meshlin Marrogi. Image: Instagram.

"NCF initially started as a fundraiser for children in the family's Syrian village of origin, however investigators claim she created most of the network of businesses that were used to launder NCF profits," reports claim. 


But according to former police detective and academic Associate Professor Michael Kennedy, Meshlin was unlikely to have been intrinsically involved in the family's criminal activity, and "was more part of establishing legitimate businesses (so) the extended family members who preferred this to being involved in crime were given an option."

"Meshilin Marrogi was a type of Za'im or a deal maker and problem solver," Assoc Prof. Kennedy told Mamamia.

"Since her death arose from COVID, there is very little to suggest that she was not good at her role," he says. 

Assoc Prof Kennedy says Za'ims are common in middle eastern and Mediterranean cultures, where the state traditionally provides little welfare assistance, leaving a similar role to fall to extended family leaders.  

"Such as the Mafia," he explains.  

According to author, Michael Johnson, in middle eastern culture, Za'ims are generally rural or urban leaders who use wealth, status and networks to build a "clientele of electoral support and, in return, favours are distributed to the clients for political loyalty".

In western terms, he writes, the role is often reflected as simply a gangster working for a mafia boss. In the modern day, a Za'im is usually viewed as a pillar of the community.  

"Organised crime is a business that is about making money, and providing the wealth is shared, the power often rests with a very loose fitting committee type structure," explains Assoc Prof Kennedy. 


"The role of the Za'im or leader is to settle disputes, but seldom to tell people what to do."

Who opened Meshlin's coffin, and why?

While former homicide detective Charlie Bezzina told Channel 7 News there was an unwritten code among crime gangs that you "don't go after families – alive and dead", Assoc Prof Kenndy says the underworld rarely follows the rules.

Describing the attack as a "very low act," Detective Bezzina expressed concern about the possibility of further retaliation from the Marrogis. 

But Assoc Prof Kenndy says the attack on Meshlin's grave was unlikely to be an act of gangland war, and more likely to be the work of unrelated Australian criminals.

"The reason could be as simple as the funeral director told someone the body had a lot of expensive jewellery still on it. Someone like (convicted murderer and drug trafficker) Carl Williams when he was alive. 

"It could be in retaliation for an earlier betrayal or attempt or someone's life. It could be over a dispute from prison. (But) if I were to hazard a guess, I would be looking into who knew there was expensive jewellery on the body. 

"It seems a very unusual revenge attack and believe it or not, even the hardest of criminals in my experience would disapprove of this behaviour."

Feature Image: Daily Mail/Instagram.

It can be tricky raising little humans and that’s why we want to hear from all parents in this short survey. Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!