The raids and arrests followed a year-long investigation after a tip-off from US authorities [AFP]
Australian police have seized a record half a tonne of the drug crystal methamphetamine and heroin worth up to $525m hidden in a shipment of terracotta pots from Thailand.
Four Hong Kong nationals and three Australian residents were also arrested in raids in Sydney on Monday following a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Over half a tonne of drugs, including 306kg of crystal methamphetamine - also known as ''ice'' - and 252kg of heroin, were seized.
"At the end of the day, there's a lot of 'Mr Mediums' and 'Mr Littles' that work with 'Mr Big'," Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters.
"I think we've got a good combination of the people responsible for this importation."
The drugs were found hidden in a shipment of 3,200 terracotta pots at Sydney's Port Botany, and were concealed in hundreds of foil-wrapped, loaf-sized packages.
Those arrested, aged between 29 and 61, were charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to import illicit drugs and holding a commercial quantity of illicit drugs. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in jail. They have now been remanded into custody until October 17.
"We're talking about a significant quantity of two separate types of substances which generally have different source countries," Colvin said, adding the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.
Jason Clare, the home affairs ministers, said the bust was a major breakthrough.
"This is more heroin and more amphetamine than we often seize in an entire year," he said.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Saturday, 28 July 2012
A BIKIE club that recently set up at Smithton has had another liquor permit approved, but it is yet to lodge a permanent liquor licence application. The Black Uhlans Motorcycle Club established itself at the King St former electrical repair shop in May. It was granted a liquor permit for its first event in June, and State Treasury's Licensing and Gaming director Adrian Christian said yesterday it has had another approved for this Saturday, from 8pm to 2am. "There is no application for a liquor licence," Mr Christian said. He said permit conditions were the legal responsibility of the individual behind the application, not the organisation, in this case the Black Uhlans. "Whether the function is bingo or a chook raffle or whatever, ... that's not a matter for the commissioner to consider under the permit (application)," Mr Christian said. In May when news of the Black Uhlans' permanent presence spread at Smithton, Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam said some residents had expressed concerns to him. However, he subsequently said he expected no trouble from the group, especially if there were no rival bikies in town.
There has been a hunt for Shah, 27, since he crashed into an unmarked police car and fled at suburban Salisbury Park more than a week ago.
Police warn Shah could be armed and say he should not be approached.
They have warned anyone harbouring Shah that the maximum penalty for that offence is seven years in jail.The warrant has been issued by Elizabeth Magistrates Court for two counts of acts to endanger life.
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
A man with alleged links to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang has faced court over a vicious brawl at a Brisbane restaurant. Daniel Potts, 37, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday charged with affray. He was arrested on Saturday over the vicious bashing of another man, also believed to have bikie gang ties, at the Mt Gravatt shopping centre on April 17. Two 25-year-old members of the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang were charged with affray in May over the same incident. Potts was silent during his brief court appearance on Monday. There was no application for bail and the matter was adjourned until next month.
Saturday, 14 July 2012
alleged national bikie boss accused of assaulting his partner has been refused bail in a Sydney court. Police say Mark Buddle has taken over as the presidents of the Comancheros bikie gang. The 27-year-old sat in the dock at Sydney's Central Local Court today, wearing the same T-shirt and shorts as when he was arrested on the street in the city's east at Coogee yesterday afternoon. Police allege Buddle had just slapped his de facto partner, Melanie Tiwacha, at their home at nearby Clovelly. He allegedly threatened the 27-year-old with a knife, slapped her and tried to stab her with a pen before she fled to a local pub and called police. Buddle was charged last night with assault, affray and two counts of being armed with intent. In applying for bail today, Buddle's lawyer Stephen Zahr told the court Ms Tiwacha had since moved in with her father. But Magistrate Julie Huber refused the bail application, saying she still had concerns for Ms Tiwacha's safety. Buddle is due to face court again next month.
Friday, 13 July 2012
MAN has been refused bail after being accused of lying to Queensland's crime watchdog over his suspected involvement in a drive-by murder at a busy shopping centre. Marko Cokara, who has alleged connections to the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with perjury. He allegedly lied to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) during a coercive hearing on June 6. Cokara was hauled before the hearing to answer questions about his suspected involvement in the execution-style murder of Jei "Jack" Lee. The 22-year-old was gunned down in a shopping centre carpark at Eight Mile Plains, in Brisbane's south, in April. Cokara is alleged to have lied when he said he was not present at the shopping centre on the day Mr Lee died. He also is accused of lying about his phone number on the day. The court heard Bosnian-born Cokara, 21, is a suspect in Mr Lee's death, but he has not been charged. A second suspect and patched member of the Bandidos, Bogden Cuic, fled the country 19 hours after Mr Lee's death, the court heard. Cokara unsuccessfully applied for bail on the perjury charge on Thursday. Magistrate Tina Previtera said the case against him was "very strong" and ruled he was a flight risk. She also said his history of breaching court orders made it likely he would do so again. "This court is of the view that there is an unacceptable risk that you will commit further offences if you are granted bail," she said. Cokara was remanded to appear again next month.
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
GOLD Coasters are afraid to walk the streets at night and two out of three say they have been victims or know somebody touched by crime.
The Your City, Your Say survey -- the biggest ever undertaken on the Gold Coast -- has delivered a shocking verdict on how locals view crime and personal safety. When it comes to tackling crooks on the Gold Coast, 86 per cent of locals said the city needed an urgent boost to police numbers. Gold Coast residents were also unhappy with the current response to bikie violence. A total of 63 per cent of respondents said they believed that taskforce Hydra and local police had not done enough to stop outlaw motorcycle gang activity.
POLICE are investigating whether a hydroponic cannabis crop was responsible for sparking a shed fire which destroyed a number of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Police attended the house on Gilfillan Street in Whyalla Norrie in South Australia when a fire started inside a rear shed at 6.30am Sunday.
It is alleged the remains of a hydroponic cannabis crop was located and investigations are continuing as to whether it contributed to starting the fire.
The shed and contents, including 'a number' of Harley Davidson motorcycles, were destroyed.
The total cost of the damage is believed to exceed $190,000.
The male homeowner, who police say is a member of the outlaw motorcycle gang the Red Devils, was arrested and charged with cultivating cannabis and possessing prescribed equipment.
The 45-year-old received bail to appear at Whyalla Magistrates Court at a later date.
"Police want to remind the public that the growing of cannabis is not only illegal but also poses as a real danger, particularly when being grown hydroponically," a police spokesperson said.
Sunday, 8 July 2012
Every member of the Queensland-based chapter of the Life and Death motorcycle gang was issued with a traffic infringement notice for speeding. The gang of 22 was stopped on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour around 2.30pm. Police said the outlaw motorcycle gang was clocked speeding on the Pacific Highway at 1.55pm as they headed south on the Dirty Creek Range towards Corindi. Five highway patrol vehicles and two general duties crews enforced the highly visible roadside stop. Police said most of the members were issued with tickets for travelling more than 10kmh over the legal limit of 100kmh.
Wednesday, 4 July 2012
BIKIES in town for the V8s will be asked to leave pubs and bars if they are wearing their club colours.
Gypsy Jokers members
Under "emergency powers" activated by the NT Licensing Commission - on advice from NT Police Commissioner John McRoberts - Territory pubs will be forced to kick out bikies wearing club colours, in the "interests of public safety".
This afternoon, the NT Licensing Commissioner issued this statement: "Following advice from the Northern Territory Commissioner of Police, the Northern Territory Licensing Commission has determined to exercise its emergency powers in the interest of public safety to ban members of motor cycle gangs from wearing their colours in Licensed Premises.
"The Commissioner of Police has advised that members of the Gypsy Jokers Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang, and possibly other bikie gangs, are heading to Darwin in conjunction with the V8 Super Car event this weekend.
"A licensee, or employee of a licensee, shall exclude or remove from Licensed Premises any person who is wearing the colours, insignia or emblems of an Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (Bikie gang)."
The emergency powers are in place for seven days.
Queensland criminals are hiring security experts to sweep their houses for bugs and other hidden police surveillance equipment
Queensland criminals are hiring security experts to sweep their houses for bugs and other hidden police surveillance equipment, leaving detectives frustrated. They can also buy sophisticated "bug detection" kits, noise generators, hidden camera scanners and phone tap detectors online and in-store for as little as $450. While police spend months planning operations involving placement of listening devices, their targets can order kits that allow them to identify suspicious points and keep their clandestine activities under even closer wraps. Bikie gangs, such as the notorious Finks, previously have used security experts to check their homes.
BIKIES are aggressively expanding their networks across Victoria, with one feared motorcycle gang taking over a rival's new chapter as it vies for dominance in the city. The Herald Sun has been told the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle club has ousted the Black Uhlans from a warehouse in Williamstown - the second time it has taken over premises since establishing itself in Melbourne almost three years ago.
illegal snake, a stolen dog and $50,000 worth of the drug ice have been seized by police carrying out bikie-related raids in Sydney's west. Two men, including an alleged Rebels associate, have been arrested after officers swooped on five properties in Willmot, Londonderry, Lethbridge Park, St Marys and Richmond. The operation on Thursday was a follow up to a raid in April on the home of an alleged Rebels bikie in Telopea. On that occasion, Strike Force Raptor officers seized various firearms, ammunition and about one kilogram of amphetamines. Three men were arrested at the time before being released pending further inquiries.
A senior member of an outlaw motorcycle gang has been refused bail by a Gold Coast magistrate who described him as a "totally unacceptable risk". Shane Treloar, 38, the sergeant-at-arms of the Lone Wolf motorcycle gang, appeared in Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday on 19 charges including possession of drugs and a high-powered automatic assault rifle. Treloar was arrested at his Upper Coomera home on Thursday by officers from Task Force Hydra - set up to combat outlaw motorcycle gangs in Queensland. In refusing bail, Magistrate John Costanzo brushed aside submissions by lawyer Darren Mahony about the strength of the case against his client. "The prosecution case does not appear to be weak to me," he told the court. He said Treloar had appeared 11 times for sentencing matters in the past 10 years. "Rather than show a stable personal life he has displayed an unpreparedness to comply with court orders and to respect the law," he said. "He is a recidivist offender, and quite a persistent one. "He is a totally unacceptable risk." The heavily tattooed Treloar, with the word "Revenge" inked across one side of his face, sat quietly in the dock during the proceedings. He was remanded in custody to appear in court again on September 5 by video link from prison. Treloar played rugby league for Parramatta, Penrith and Souths for a number of years, mainly in reserve grade, and moved to the Gold Coast to pursue his sporting career but was thwarted by injury.
Prominent bikie gang member, Jamie George Zammit, who is facing consorting charges over time spent in houses in Merrylands and Pemulwuy, was arrested as part of a bikie investigation on the weekend. Just before 7pm on Saturday June 30, Strike Force Raptor investigators searched a house at Mount Vernon Road, Mount Vernon, with alleged links to bikie gangs. More than 200 grams of an amphetamine-like substance was seized, and police also located what appeared to be old bullet holes in the front of the home. Later that evening, officers stopped and searched a vehicle at Oakhurst, seizing a loaded nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol and an amount of cash. Mr Zammit, 30, the driver of the vehicle, who police allege to be a former high-ranking member of the Nomads and now a member of the Rebels, was arrested and charged. He was charged with being in possession of a loaded firearm for which he did not have a licence, dealing with the proceeds of crime and other charges. Mr Zammit is a Mount Vernon resident, but police have not confirmed whether it was his house which was searched earlier in the day. He was the head of the Nomands bikie gang in Sydney. He remains in custody to next face Mount Druitt Local Court on Thursday July 5. Following further inquiries, Strike Force Raptor investigators executed a search warrant on a home at Sulman Place, Doonside, yesterday afternoon, Monday, July 2. Inside, they located a number of vials of steroids and other items which were seized for further examination. Inquiries are continuing. Strike Force Raptor was established by State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad in 2009 and is a proactive and high-impact operation targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs and any associated criminal enterprises.
So far this year, there have been 60 shootings in Sydney due to heightened tension between motorcycle gangs, police say. The tension has led to innocent bystanders getting caught in gun violence, such as a 2-month-old baby who recently survived a drive-by shooting at a house where she was sleeping, Sky News reported. In an effort to curb gang activity and shootings, police have began raiding local homes businesses associated with bike gangs and pulling over bikers wearing gang insignia, the report said. "We classify these groups as criminal organizations," acting assistant police commissioner Mal Lanyon told Sky News. "There are a range of issues which come into play, the patching over or the movement of one member of a group to another group, competition over drug turf and individual differences between members."
Monday, 2 July 2012
Police in central western New South Wales fear Sydney's outlaw motorcycle gangs are moving into the region to claim new territory. Officers in Parkes say they have spoken to members of the Rebels bikies who are trying to get jobs in the district and lease industrial land. Superintendant Bob Ryan, from the Lachlan Local Area Command, says he believes the gang's problems in Sydney have forced them to try to move into regional areas to continue their businesses. He says police do not want the bikies in the community. "We probably can't stop them from coming to the community, but we can make sure that we're aware of where they are, that their activities are lawful and if they step outside the bounds of the law then we'll be there to deal with them when it happens," he said. Police in Orange have also been involved in an operation targeting bikies in the western region. Superintendant David Driver, from the Orana Local Area Command, says he does not want to hear of any problems within the local community. "We do get reports of members of various outlaw motorcycle gangs attending licensed premises, some acts of intimidation," Superintendant Driver said. "Their activities are of interest to us, there has been a lot of high profile media incidents that have occurred in the Sydney metropolitan area. "Naturally we don't want that to translate into activity of that nature within the local area command." Superintendant Ryan says he believes the gangs are trying to broaden their territory. "Outlaw motorcycle gangs are all looking to expand their areas of influence," he said. "There's a lot of conflict in Sydney in relation to some of the gangs and this is a way of I guess taking charge of new territory and growing what they see as a business. "One of the things we're doing is encouraging businesses not to employ them. We're certainly encouraging them not to lease premises to these people." Superintendant Driver says police are doing what they can. "Obviously there's been quite an extensive history or historical link between outlaw motorcycle gangs and unlawful activity and naturally the police are interested to curb and monitor that activity," he said.