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Researcher Jennifer Stone
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Gang Squad targeted by Operation Morpheus
Gangs Squad targets OMCG activity as part of Operation Morpheus
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 08:04:31 AM
The criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs have been the target of the NSW Police Force Gangs Squad in recent weeks as part of a national focus on OMCG.
National Taskforce – Operation Morpheus combines the resources of all Australian state and territory police agencies and key Commonwealth agencies to detect, deter and disrupt the criminal activity of OMCG’s and their members. At the end of March, police across Australia undertook numerous activities with the aim of disrupting the activities of OMCGs.
Here in NSW, the Gangs Squad and local police, together with other agencies, conducted a number of operations resulting 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 (NAGS-NSW)* and the Australian Tax Office, has been investigating alleged mortgage fraud by a senior member of the Finks and a number of associates, including family members. Police will allege fraudulent documents were produced to obtain mortgages for a number of properties and have charged four people with obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Further charges are anticipated.
Two senior members of the Bandidos Newcastle were arrested and charged with assault with intent to rob armed with an offensive weapon on Sunday 22 March 2015, following 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 OMCGs were charged with firearms and drug offences after separate investigations by local police resulted in the seizure of a handgun and a sawn-off rifle, as well as cannabis and other drugs. An associate of the Comanchero was charged with cocaine supply and the possession of a knife in a public place.
On Thursday 26 March 2015, Strike Force Raptor and Quakers Hill Local Area Command searched a business at Wellington Street, Riverstone, with suspected links to the Finks. A hydroponic cannabis crop was located, with 396 plants with 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.
On Friday 27 March 2015, Strike Force Raptor officers executed a search warrant at the Finks clubhouse at Riverstone under the Restricted Premises Act. Alcohol and other items were seized by police 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, while a club member present at the property when police attended is expected to be issued a court attendance notice relating to the possession of steroids and prohibited drugs.
A member of the Nomads and a member of the Rebels were charged with consorting which now brings the total number of OMCG members charged with the offence to 29 since the High Court validated the legislation.
Strike Force Raptor also conducted a number of safe storage inspections on associates of the Finks, with two licenses suspended and seized. Eleven rifles, one shotgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition were seized following those suspensions.
NAGS-NSW identified four members of the Finks OMCG who held fraudulently-obtained ACT driver licences. With assistance from ACT Police Task Force Nemesis, they were charged with a total of 23 charges and the four licences were subsequently cancelled by the ACT RTA.
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 those OMCGs 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,” Det Supt Wallace 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.
“The community can take comfort in the fact that the officers from the Gangs Squad and Strike Force Raptor have been fearless and relentless in pursuing OMCGs and will continue to do so.”
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to the criminal activities of OMCGS to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report it directly to detectives via the Strike Force Raptor online reporting page:https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/Default.aspx?id=49. Photographs and videos can be uploaded to the online reporting page. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.
(*The National Anti-Gangs Squad is a national multi-agency task force funded by the Federal Government via the Australian Federal Police. A strike team comprising AFP, NSW Police Force and Australian Taxation Office personnel is located within State Crime Command to investigate gang-related crime and assist current NSW Police Force gangs investigations.)