Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I didn't know airport victim was being killed: bikie

The president of the Commanchero Motorcycle Club, Mahmoud (Mick) Hawi, insisted today he had not been involved in the death of a man at Sydney Airport in 2009 despite being shown a photo that placed him at the scene of the fight.

Mr Hawi, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Anthony Zervas on March 22, 2009, said he did not even see the fight at the airport when Mr Zervas was hit by a bollard.

Five other Commanchero members have pleaded not guilty to murder before Justice Robert Hulme in the Supreme Court at Parramatta.

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A member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, with which Anthony Zervas was associated, is standing trial for riot and affray.

Crown prosecutor Natalie Adams asked: "What I am suggesting to you is that a number of Commancheros assaulted the deceased and towards the end of the assault you were the one who hit him with the bollard."

Mr Hawi: "No."

Ms Adams: "Can you tell the court you had no idea he was being killed at the airport that day?"

Mr Hawi: "On my oath, Ma'am."

Mr Hawi said he had been involved in a scuffle with Anthony Zervas and his brother Peter Zervas before the fatal fight and that was behind the check-in counter at the airport.

Eleven other Commancheros and five Hells Angels were there but the other Commancheros had all run away and he had been left fighting Peter and Anthony Zervas by himself.

He said someone had pulled off Anthony Zervas and he himself had run; he had just wanted to get out of the terminal.

Ms Adams: "Are you suggesting that not a single member of the Commancheros tried to help you?"

Mr Hawi: "Yes."

Mr Hawi said that he believed that Anthony and Peter Zervas had tried to kill him and he had suffered a wound on his hand that had been bleeding.

Ms Adams put it to him that what had really happened was that there been a brawl between the Commancheros and Hells Angels behind the check-in counter and they had all "tumbled through", including Anthony Zervas.

Mr Hawi: "No, Ma'am."

Ms Adams: "And at some stage he [Anthony Zervas] managed to get away and he was chased?"

Mr Hawi: "I cannot agree with that."

Ms Adams: "At some stage he hit the floor?"

Mr Hawi: "I cannot remember."

Ms Adams: "He was chased by the Commancheros till he hit the ground? He was assaulted by a large number of Commancheros?"

Mr Hawi: "I did not see the assault."

Ms Adams: "He fell to the floor and he was hit with bollards?"

Mr Hawi: "I did not see it."

Ms Adams: "You went over there and you were part of the final assault?"

Mr Hawi: "No, Ma'am."

Ms Adams: "You used a bollard?"

Mr Hawi: "Never used a bollard."

Ms Adams pointed out that though Mr Hawi claimed to have been injured on the hand, he had not shown the injury to police when they charged him two weeks later and not one drop of his blood had ever been found at the airport.

The trial continues.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

MEN linked to outlaw motorcycle gang the Rebels have been arrested in a series of raids uncovering guns, drugs and hydro equipment today.

Two men were arrested after drug and firearm warrants were executed on four properties early this morning in Bendigo and Redesdale as part of Taskforce Echo's crackdown on bikie gangs.

A pistol, a sawn-off shotgun, long arm rifle, amphetamines, cannabis and hydro equipment were uncovered.

Police arrested two Redesdale men aged 28 and 37, who are both currently assisting police with enquiries.

Acting Inspector Darren Wiseman said it was a "good result'' the drugs and weapons were taken off the street.

"We will continue to target this type of criminal behaviour to ensure the Bendigo community is a safe place.''

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sixth man charged over alleged attempted extortion

Gangs Squad detectives have charged a sixth man following investigations into an alleged attempted extortion at a Burwood caryard.

About 2.30pm today (Wednesday 17 August, 2011), a 52-year-old man was arrested by police with assistance from Corrective Services.

He was taken to a nearby police station and charged with demand money with menaces and participating in a criminal group.

He remains in custody and will appear at Burwood Local Court tomorrow (Thursday 18 August 2011). The man is an alleged senior member of the Hells Angels OMCG.

A subsequent search warrant was also executed by police today at a unit on Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD, where police located and seized an amount of a prohibited substance, believed to be cocaine. .

During the warrant police also arrested a 33-year-old man, an alleged member of the Hells Angels OMCG. He was taken to City Central Police Station and charged with possess prohibited drug

He was granted bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on 7 September 2011.

Gangs Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said squad members were committed to the continued investigation and prosecution of members of Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang's or Organised Criminal Networks participating in illegal activities.

“Today’s developments follow ongoing investigations into an alleged extortion in which five men approached a car yard on Parramatta Road at Burwood about 3.30pm on Monday 11 July 2011, and allegedly demanded money,” Detective Superintendent Katsogiannis said. .

The five men aged 24, 26, 27, 29 and 30, were arrested at the scene and taken to Campsie Police Station where they were charged.

Strike Force Embark was established to investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged extortion as well as an alleged incident at the Burwood car yard just before 3pm on Thursday 7 July 2011, in which a number of luxury cars were driven from the premises.


BIKIE member is expected to be charged over two separate shootings earlier this year

Police raided a house in Wetherill Park, in Sydney's southwest, yesterday.

They found three shotguns, three rifles and a large amount of ammunition along with a small amount of cocaine and steroids.

Police also seized several pieces of Hells Angels clothing.

A 21-year-old man was arrested and taken to Wetherill Park Police Station where he was interviewed before being released.

Police expect charges to be laid after forensic testing is done.

"It will be further alleged the man is a member of the outlaw motorcycle gang," police said in a statement today.

The arrest relates to the June 30 shooting in the western Sydney suburb of Merrylands and the shooting in the eastern suburb of Dover Heights.

Police had been called to a home in Holdsworth Street, Merrylands after residents reportedly heard gun blasts.

They arrived to find the front of the home riddled with bullet holes although a woman, 47, and a boy, 7, escaped injury.

Less than 24 hours later, forensic officers went to a home in Dover Heights after bullet casings were found on the footpath.

Police believe the two houses were shot at on the same night.

Strike Force Bairstowe, comprising detectives from Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, was formed to investigate both shootings.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Associate of Hells Angels outlaw motorcylce club charged with firearm offences

AN ASSOCIATE of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club has been arrested in relation to alleged firearm offences including AK-47 assault rifles.

Officers from NSW Police Force's Strike Force Raptor have been making inquiries into firearm licence holders and safe storage inspections are being conducted.

"On Friday 12 August, 2011 officer’s attended Claremont Street, Merrylands where a safe storage inspection was conducted. During the inspection police allegedly noticed the safe was not adequately secured and also identifying two AK-47 assault rifles, which are prohibited weapons.

"A 43-year-old man was issued with a notice of suspension for his firearms licence and police seized four other rifles."

The man will be issued with a Future Court Attendance Notice for two counts of possess prohibited weapon and not keep firearm safe.

Strike Force Raptor was established by the State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad in 2009 and is a proactive, high-impact operation targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs and their alleged associated criminal enterprises.


an attempt by provincial justice officials to officially designate the Indian Posse as a criminal organization

THEY are Winnipeg's largest street gang, boasting a vast membership that has spread throughout Manitoba and even into other provinces.
But an attempt by provincial justice officials to officially designate the Indian Posse as a criminal organization has fallen short in court.
A high-ranking gang member pleaded guilty last month to charges of assault and uttering threats. In exchange, the Crown dropped the unique offence of participating in a criminal organization, which carries its own set of additional penalties upon conviction.
Jeff Bruyere, 43, was sentenced to 18 months of time already served during the hearing on Peguis First Nation, according to court records. No explanation was given for the dropped charge, which was believed to be the first of its kind against an Indian Posse member. Previously, only members and associates of the Hells Angels had faced such an allegation.
Bruyere was arrested in July 2009 for a violent incident in Peguis, located about 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg, which was alleged to be motivated by gang activity. He admitted to threatening, kicking and hitting a woman who apparently owed a $640 drug debt, court was told. A beer bottle was also smashed over her head.
Bruyere went to a house party the woman was at and told her "he was a high-ranking member of the Indian Posse street gang and not one to be messed with," said Crown attorney Courtney St. Croix. The victim was then attacked by several people, including Bruyere.
She suffered serious injuries that required treatment in hospital, including having her right eye swollen shut.
Two co-accused remain before the courts.
Bruyere's troubles with the justice system are far from over. He remains in custody on a charge of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the May 2006 death of Sheldon McKay inside Stony Mountain Institution.
Bruyere and four co-accused were charged last year following a lengthy RCMP investigation into what is believed to be a gang-related slaying. None of the allegations have been proven, and they are presumed innocent.

Rock Machine prospect recently told Winnipeg police that his involvement in the city’s ongoing biker war is “a badge of honour”

A Rock Machine prospect recently told Winnipeg police that his involvement in the city’s ongoing biker war is “a badge of honour” that he’s ready to die for.

That and other details of the criminal feud between the Rock Machine and Hells Angels, as well as their affiliate clubs, came to light Friday during the bail hearing for Amanda Freeman, a 23-year-old Lorette woman who was arrested Tuesday along with two Rock Machine prospects, including her boyfriend.

Court heard that Freeman, her boyfriend Guy Stevenson, and another man named Joseph (J.J.) Choken were in Freeman’s Dodge Avenger Tuesday, accused of circling a home on Antrim Road in East Kildonan.

Crown prosecutor Brent Davidson told court Stevenson and Choken are known members of the Vendetta Crew, an associate club of the Rock Machine, and that both are considered prospects for the parent club.

Police were watching the house on Antrim Tuesday after receiving a tip that Rock Machine associates were going to target the house and their rivals within.

Fearing something violent was about to happen, the surveillance officers intercepted the Avenger, causing a collision that injured a few of the officers.

Police seized a loaded handgun that was inside a bag in the back seat and a document listing the address they’d been watching. They also seized four photos of local Rock Machine members from one of the men’s wallets.

Davidson said Stevenson wasn’t shy about discussing the gang war when giving his statement to police.

“I don’t think there’s any contention that he’s not a gang member. He admits it clearly in his statement,” Davidson told court. “He says the war is ongoing. He says it’s a badge of honour. He says he’s willing to die for this cause.”

“For Ms. Freeman to come and say ‘I’m simply a girlfriend and my guy is a bad guy and I didn’t know’ simply flies in the face of reality,” he said.

Freeman withdrew her bail application at the tail end of her hearing Friday due to a scheduling concern with the sitting judge, but is expected to re-apply during a new hearing Monday morning.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Jailed Pagan pleads guilty to 2008 attack on rival

Steven "Gorilla" Mondevergine is heading back to prison after pleading guilty Monday to aggravated assault and weapons offenses in the shooting and stabbing of Timothy "Casual" Flood, a rival leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, more than three years ago.
Flood, who began cooperating with authorities in 2009, may also be providing information about other acts of violence in the biker underworld, including the January 2005 slaying of a leader of Hells Angels. Authorities have declined to comment about that case.

The Common Pleas Court hearing Monday wrapped up charges leveled last year against Mondevergine. They were believed to be based almost entirely on information supplied by Flood.

Under a plea agreement, Mondevergine, 57, was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison by Common Pleas Court Judge Earl W. Trent.

In exchange for the guilty plea, Assistant District Attorney Brian Grady said his office agreed to drop an attempted-murder charge.

Mondevergine, a former Philadelphia police officer, said little during the hearing, but waved and smiled at family members who had crowded into two rows of the 10th-floor courtroom.

He has been held on $1 million bail since his arrest at his mother's apartment in Washington Township, Gloucester County, in December.

The plea and sentencing came as Mondevergine was about to stand trial for the Jan. 30, 2008, assault in a home in Northeast Philadelphia that authorities said served as a clubhouse for the Pagans.

Flood, 49, was the club president at the time and was part of a group that authorities say was trying to force Mondevergine to give up his colors and relinquish his role as a member of the organization.

At a preliminary hearing this year, Flood testified that he was sitting on a couch in the clubhouse when Mondevergine burst into the room, shot him in a knee, and then stabbed him in the back.

The attack occurred during a period of high tension within the biker underworld.

Several other beatings and shootings were linked to a dispute between the Pagans and Hells Angels, which was attempting to establish a foothold in Philadelphia, long Pagans territory.

Federal authorities, who took part in Mondevergine's arrest in December, are continuing an investigation into the 2005 murder of Thomas Wood, who was gunned down as part of that biker war.

Wood, 36, was a vice president of Hells Angels and one of the top club members in the Philadelphia area. He was killed when the pickup truck he was driving near Vare Avenue and the Schuylkill Expressway was strafed with gunfire from a passing SUV.

No one has been charged in that case, but the arrest of Mondevergine last year led to speculation that authorities were making progress in the Wood slaying.

The key, several sources have said, could be Flood. Flood began cooperating after he was named along with 50 other bikers in a broad racketeering indictment that targeted Pagans activity on the East Coast.

While the case was based in West Virginia, Flood was one of several local Pagans named. He eventually pleaded guilty to a gambling charge and has been cooperating since, according to law enforcement sources.

One of his first acts as a cooperator was to finger Mondevergine as the man who shot and stabbed him. When the incident occurred, Flood told authorities he had been attacked in the parking lot of a bar and did not know his assailant.

Sources said the FBI has also questioned Flood about the Wood shooting.

Grady, the prosecutor in the Mondevergine case, declined to comment Monday about Flood's status as a witness, but said the Wood homicide was "under investigation by the FBI


Cop seriously injured in biker war investigation

city police officer received a serious upper body injury in a takedown of a car early Tuesday that resulted in the seizure of a loaded handgun.

The officer, who is a member of the tactical support team, is in stable condition in hospital, police said. Police didn't release his name, age or rank.

The car, a Dodge Avenger, was stopped around 12:30 a.m. as part of police efforts to deal with the feud between the Rock Machine and the Hells Angels-affiliated Redlined Support Crew.

Police said the Dodge tried to flee and ended up hitting three police vehicles. Two other officers with the tactical team were injured, but were treated and released from hospital.

Officers recovered a loaded handgun from the car, police said.

Joseph Jordan Carl Choken, 19, and Guy Wesley Vernon Stevenson, 21, have both been charged with unsafe transport of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of a restricted firearm with ammunition.

Choken is also charged with possession of ammunition contrary to a probation order, and it appears he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant.

Stevenson is also charged with three counts of breaching probation, and several additional firearms charges.

A 23-year-old woman from Lorette, Man., is charged with failing to have a licence and a registration certificate for a firearm. Police didn't release her name.

At a briefing Tuesday morning, police suggested the case is linked to the conflict between rival outlaw motorcycle gangs, but a spokeswoman refused to specify how.


Bashed broadcaster Michael Laws has laid the blame for his assault in a Wanganui bar on the local Hells Angels gang

Bashed broadcaster Michael Laws has laid the blame for his assault in a Wanganui bar on the local Hells Angels gang - which he says is "petty, pathetic and cowardly".

Mr Laws suffered a black eye and lost several porcelain dental veneers when he was hit at Caroline's Celtic bar at about 11.30pm on Friday.

Police are investigating and told the Herald they had not identified the man responsible for the assault.

A spokeswoman said the assault was not serious, but police were trying to find CCTV images from the area to help identify the culprit.

But Mr Laws, who alerted media to the assault through an emailed statement on Sunday afternoon, shared his own theory on Radio Live yesterday.

He told listeners witnesses had told him they were "95 per cent certain" the man who hit himwas a Hells Angel gang member or associate.

"That would figure. Hells Angels are not the soundest people in the world, to be perfectly honest with you, and they are cowardly.

"The Hells Angels, they'll do their little bit for intimidation.

"It's always petty, it's always pathetic, it's always cowardly and it's always done never to your face. And they always run away."

Mr Laws told the Herald after the show that witnesses had come forward with the information about the attacker and he would pass it on to police.

"One has identified an alleged gang associate, connected with Hells Angels. I am not able to confirm that information but would not be surprised.

"A Hells Angel member has also boasted publicly of a rock being thrown through my children's bedroom window earlier, and there have been other intimidatory incidents including an earlier incident in 2005 when I was out walking with my two youngest kids and two patched gang members rode at me and shouted obscenities."

On air Mr Laws said because of his part in the success of anti-gang legislation in Wanganui, he had been targeted by local gangs - but it was usually a verbal attack or rude gesture.

"Gangs are cowards. That's why people join gangs. They're losers in life and they join a gang."

Mr Laws said the assault was unacceptable and every New Zealander should be able to go about their business "without fear of assault or affray".

He was at the bar with "an attractive young blonde", and was walking over to check out the band that was playing when he was "blindsided" by a man in a hoodie.

"It's the shock of being hit that always gets you."

Two Finks bikies have been arrested over the shipment of military-style guns from Adelaide to Sydney.

Police said on Tuesday the two guns were found hidden under the boot lining of a car that was stopped at Campbelltown in February this year.

One had been modified to be fully automatic but jammed repeatedly when tested, Detective Inspector Steve Taylor of the Crime Gangs Task Force said.

Ongoing investigations resulted in the arrest and extradition to Adelaide of a 33-year-old man from Kellyville, in Sydney's west in July.

He was charged with two counts of acquiring a firearm and was allowed to return to NSW as part of his bail conditions.

Last week a 39-year-old man from suburban Adelaide was also arrested and charged with two counts of supplying a firearm.

He appeared before the Adelaide Magistrates Court on August 5 but did not apply for bail.

He was due to return to court on Tuesday.

Insp Taylor said the shipment of guns was "fairly typical" of bikie gangs and organised crime syndicates.

"Organised crime tends to go hand-in-hand with guns and drugs," he said.

Two Comancheros bikie gang associates have been charged as a result of an assault at a Northbridge nightclub in May.

Police allege the assault happened just after midnight on May 28 in the upstairs bar of the Library.

One of the men allegedly punched the victim in the jaw, knocking him unconscious.

Police say the victim fell to the floor and the other man kicked him in the head as he lay there.

The unconscious man, who is a 25-year-old from Victoria Park, ended up with concussion, a swollen jaw and a cut elbow.

The gang crime squad charged a 22-year-old Kiara man and a 20-year-old Dianella man with assault occasioning bodily harm.

Both men will appear in Perth Magistrates Court on August 23.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Troy Mercanti leaving prison in a Finks gang jumper emblazoned with "violence" would be illegal under the Government's anti- association laws to be introduced soon,

Troy Mercanti leaving prison in a Finks gang jumper emblazoned with "violence" would be illegal under the Government's anti- association laws to be introduced soon, Attorney-General Christian Porter suggested yesterday.

Mr Porter said the Bill, which would allow courts to declare bikie gangs criminal organisations, was "close to being ready" and he hoped to introduce it this year.

In a display the Opposition branded attention seeking and offensive, Mercanti left Casuarina Prison on Tuesday in a Finks jumper with the club slogan "attitude" and "violence" splashed on it.

He was then greeted with bear hugs from up to eight associates wearing Finks colours.

Mr Porter said once a club was declared a criminal organisation under the laws, anti-association orders could be slapped on members to stop them meeting.

"Bikie gangs gain a lot of their force and are able to engage in a lot of their criminal practices by virtue of the fear and intimidation they create by banding together, wearing colours, being readily identifiable and this helps with a whole range of criminal activities such as standover tactics," he told ABC radio.

"If you make it a penalty for people to identify themselves with a group that's been declared a criminal organisation . . . you take away a very large part of the reason for being in a bikie gang."

Mr Porter said a High Court decision in NSW a few weeks ago paving the way for groups to be declared criminal organisations had provided a blueprint for the WA laws.

Opposition police spokeswoman Margaret Quirk said the writing on Mercanti's jumper would be offensive to the person he was jailed for assaulting in 2008.

"It's clear that prison has not had a rehabilitative effect," she said.

Ann O'Neill, director of crime victim support group Angelhands, said many victims of violent crimes would find the release of their attackers traumatic regardless of what they were wearing.

Mercanti was questioned by South Australian police when he flew to Adelaide on Tuesday night.

No motive yet for bikie gang clubhouse fire

Police say they do not have a motive for a fire which caused extensive damage at a clubhouse of the Rock Machine bikie gang in a southern Perth suburb.

Police say petrol was doused inside the Parkinson Lane premises in Kardinya and set alight just after midnight.

Damage to the building and gym equipment inside is estimated at $60,000.

Police say they do not know if the incident is linked to a fire that damaged a Rebels bikie gang clubhouse last month.

The Rock Machine gang is engaged in a long-running feud with rival Rebels.

Tensions between the gangs escalated in March this year when Rebels chief Nick Martin was shot outside his home in Balcatta.

A 30 year-old member of the Rock Machine has been charged with attempting to murder him.



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