A Gundagai man has been arrested in a joint agency police operation targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) and organised criminal networks (OCNs).
NSW and Victoria Police have arrested 27 people in total and seized multiple firearms following the conclusion of the operation.
Operation Blue Ember was established by the NSW Police Force State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups and Raptor Squads in partnership with Victoria Police (VicPOL), the NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC), and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to gather intelligence and further disrupt OMCG activities across the Riverina and the Albury-Wodonga border regions.
The multi-agency operation started Monday (20 March) morning, when NSW Police conducted 24 firearms prohibition order (FPO) searches, served 18 FPOs, made 19 arrests and seized three firearms and ammunition. Victoria Police seized one firearm and eight prohibited weapons and arrested eight people.
The operation concluded on Thursday (23 March).
Officers from Raptor South observed a number of motorcyclists travelling south along the Hume Highway wearing Rebels OMCG paraphernalia on Monday.
Police conducted a vehicle stop, where they served nine consorting warnings, and six defect notices (red and yellow) and issued eight traffic infringement notices.
Police attended a Gundagai home and served a 67-year-old man with an FPO on Monday.
During a subsequent FPO search of the home, officers located a rear shed with a large amount of Rebels OMCG paraphernalia, fridges with alcohol and a cash register. No items were seized, and inquiries are continuing.
Raptor South officers attended a home on Wingara Street, North Albury, to serve an FPO on a 37-year-old man on Wednesday.
During a subsequent search of the home, officers located a gel blaster, ammunition, Finks OMCG paraphernalia, electronic devices, and a Harley Davidson believed to be stolen.
All items were seized for forensic examination. The man was taken to Albury Police Station and charged with possessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without holding a licence/permit.
He was refused bail to appear at Albury Local Court yesterday, where he was granted conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Wednesday 5 April.
Officers attended a home on Roper Place in West Albury, to execute an FPO search on Wednesday.
About 10 minutes later, a 39-year-old man returned to the home, allegedly driving while disqualified.
He was arrested, before he allegedly refused to provide a roadside drug test; he was taken to Albury Police Station, where he allegedly refused to provide an oral fluid sample. He was charged with driving while disqualified and refusing/failing to provide an oral fluid sample.
He was granted conditional bail to appear before Albury Local Court on 19 April.
Raptor South officers attended a home in Albury suspected of being a clubhouse for the Black Uhlans OMCG, on Wednesday.
Police were later granted entry to the premises, with licensing police seizing a number of documents allegedly detailing alcohol pricing. Inquiries are continuing.
Two men were also arrested in Echuca as part of the operation.
State Crime Command Director of Crime Operations, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Weinstein, said one of the purposes of this operation was to gain a greater understanding of the OMCG footprint at the NSW-Victorian border.
“Understanding the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs in cross-border towns is integral to disrupting organised crime in our regions,” Detective Chief Superintendent Weinstein said.
“Cross-border crime is ever present in our society, with the attraction of the drug trade pushing organised criminal figures out of the city and into regional towns, believing they are safe from being targeted and out of constant law enforcement attention.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth particularly with the establishment of our Raptor South Squad, we continue to gather intelligence and information about what groups are active and their activities, which are potentially linked to organised crime.
“Raptor South officers have the local knowledge base of the Riverina and border communities, working closely with Victoria Police’s VIPER Taskforce to become even more well equipped to deal with any organised criminal activity moving forward.
“We will continue to roll out these cross-border operations and work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to further prevent, disrupt and respond to organised crime in our state,” Detective Chief Superintendent Weinstein said.
ACIC Executive Director Intelligence Operations, Jennifer Hurst, said that this operation was another example of the importance of agency collaboration.
NSW Crime Commission’s Executive Director of Criminal Investigations, Darren Bennett, said that this operation highlighted the importance of collaboration in tackling crime in regional areas.
Anyone with information about outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) or organised criminal activity should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Crime Stoppers. Information is treated in strict confidence.
The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.