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Undercover work tough luck for bike gangs
Motorcycle gangs have had a tough few months thanks to a concerted multi-agency attack on their activities.
The Hells Angels and Nelson-based Red Devils poker run was disrupted earlier this month after the entire Red Devils Gang was arrested before the party started.
More than 240 staff from Auckland Metro Crime and Operations Support, Wellington, Nelson and the Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ) were involved in the termination of Nelson-based Operation Explorer, executing more than 60 warrants in the upper half of the South Island. A gang pad, 13 motorbikes, two pipe bombs, drugs and 16 weapons were seized.
The 28 people arrested, including all members of the gang, face charges ranging from receiving stolen property, drug dealing in class A, B and C drugs, and being a member of an organised crime group under Section 98A of the Crimes Act
Later the same evening, a raid on the Headhunters’ West Auckland headquarters by police from Waitematā and AMCOS netted more than $1 million worth of methamphetamine and $24,000 in cash, and saw eight gang members arrested and charged with possession and supply of class A drugs.
Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, head of OFCANZ, says Police and other agencies can feel justifiably pleased with these results, especially following the successful Operation Stamp against the Rebels in Central District last month.
“We are now seeing what happens when Police, OFCANZ and a range of other agencies all focus on organised criminal networks in this country,” says Malcolm.
“Customs, the Defence Force and other agencies have all helped to bring operations such as Stamp and Explorer to a successful end.”
Operation Explorer was the culmination of 18 months’ work and involved one of the most successful undercover operations to date.
During the operation, undercover officers gained access to the homes, businesses and gang pads of both the Red Devils in Nelson and Hells Angels gang in Auckland and Whanganui.
Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope says the Nelson operation seriously undermined the Hells Angels.
Police used information gathered to establish the level of control and direction Hells Angels had over the formation of the Red Devils in Nelson.
“There’s no doubt the intention was for the Nelson Red Devils to eventually morph into a Hells Angels chapter,” Rob says.
“Those involved in this operation conducted their duties to the very highest standard. Without their total dedication, infiltrations to the extent achieved could never have happened.”
He also praises Defence and Customs for their role in the operation.
“By collaborating we are able to draw on collective knowledge, expertise and resources to ensure effective targeting of organised crime groups and members,” says Rob.
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