Bikie crackdown sweeps NSW
NEW South Wales bikie gangs have been put on notice, with police arresting members and shutting clubhouses in recent weeks.
The crackdown was part of a national effort called Operation Morpheus, combining the resources of all state and territory police departments and key Commonwealth agencies to detect deter and disrupt bikie gangs' criminal activity.
At the end of last month, police across Australia undertook numerous gang-busting activities.
In NSW, operations resulted in numerous arrests and charges and the closure of the Finks Riverstone clubhouse.
The Gangs Squad, with assistance of the National Anti Gangs Squad NSW and the Australian Tax Office, has been investigating alleged mortgage fraud by a senior member of the Finks and several associates, including family members.
Police will allege fraudulent documents were produced to obtain mortgages for several properties and have charged four people with obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Further charges are anticipated.
Two senior members of the Newcastle Bandidos were arrested and charged with assault with intent to rob armed with an offensive weapon on Sunday, March 22, after the alleged assault of a receptionist who was threatened with a knife at a Newcastle brothel.
They remain before the court.
Members of the Hells Angels and the Lone Wolf gangs were charged with firearms and drug offences after separate investigations resulted in the seizure of a handgun and a sawn-off rifle, as well as marijuana and other drugs.
An associate of the Comancheros was charged with cocaine supply and the possession of a knife in a public place.
On Thursday, March 26, Strike Force Raptor and Quakers Hill Local Area Command searched a business at Wellington St, Riverstone, with suspected links to the Finks.
A hydroponic cannabis crop was located, with 396 plants of an estimated potential street value of $1.1 million seized and destroyed.
A 45-year-old man was charged with cultivating a prohibited plant and remains before the court.
The next day, officers searched the Finks clubhouse at Riverstone under the Restricted Premises Act.
Alcohol and other items were seized and the clubhouse was dismantled and shut down.
Two Harley-Davidson motorcycles suspected of being "rebirthed" were seized by police and are undergoing further examination.
A club member present at the property when police attended is expected to face court relating to the possession of steroids and prohibited drugs.
A member of the Nomads and a member of the Rebels were charged with consorting, bringing the total number of bikie gang members charged with the offence to 29 since the High Court validated the legislation.
Strike Force Raptor also conducted several safe storage inspections on associates of the Finks.
Eleven rifles, one shotgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition were seized.
Four members of the Finks were identified who held fraudulently obtained ACT drivers licences.
With assistance from ACT Police, they face 23 charges and the licences were cancelled.
Commander of the Gangs Squad, Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace, said the collaborative and national aspect of Operation Morpheus had provided a strong opportunity for law enforcement to better target gangs that posed the highest risk to the community.
"These opportunities include having access to a broad range of information, ideas, capabilities and personnel, and presenting a united front through a collegiate approach," she said.
"We know outlaw motorcycle gangs are not confined to one particular state or criminal activity, and this co-ordination enhances cross-border and cross-jurisdictional opportunities to further disrupt their criminal enterprises and their ability to impart their influence on the wider community.
"This is to the benefit of all Australian law enforcement agencies and, importantly, the community.
"All OMCGs are now on notice as agencies use their full arsenal of capabilities for the purpose of exploiting every opportunity to proactively target the highest risk gangs in each jurisdiction, and detect their criminal activity."