By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Senior members of the Comancheros outlaw motorcycle gang – including a Lyndhurst man – have been arrested during a series of early-morning police raids mainly in Melbourne’s south-east on 14 March.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said a “very senior” Comancheros member was arrested at a house at Tobin Way, Lyndhurst where at least two vehicles were seized by police.
Though police had arrested 15 men and six women, including “key players”, Asst Comm Fontana said that the OMCGs “don’t stop”.
“They seem to be able to recruit and continue their activity, but we’ll continue to pursue them,” he said.
Twenty-six homes and a factory were raided in suburbs across Melbourne, including Berwick, Narre Warren, Cranbourne, Cranbourne North, Cranbourne West, Dandenong South, Beaconsfield, Keysborough, Clyde North, Lysterfield South and Eumemmerring.
Police seized several items including vehicles, a firearm, jewellery, cash as well as cocaine, methylamphetamine, GHB, cannabis, ecstasy and steroids.
Police, including the Echo Taskforce and the Australian Federal Police anti-gang unit, had investigated a Comancheros and Rebels bikie gang feud including the fire-bombing of a Kittens nightclub in July as well as 20 non-fatal drive-by shootings, he said.
Some of those arrested in the 14 March raids would be charged over a firebombing of a Rebels clubhouse in Dandenong in October.
During their investigations, police had also “effectively disrupted” other fire-bombings and drive-by shootings, Asst Comm Fontana said.
“It’s not uncommon for these groups to be fighting over territory and illicit activity.
“Our challenge is really to stay on top of that.”
He said the OMCGs were organised crime groups involved in serious crime on a daily basis, such as drug trafficking, extortion, arson and stand-over tactics.
“They will be brought to account for their activities.”
About 300 state and federal police were involved in the latest raids.
“We are not intimidated by OMCGs and we will not allow our communities to be,” Asst Comm Fontana said.
“We know these groups have long histories of engaging in warfare amongst themselves, however the indiscriminate nature of their attacks including drive by shootings means there is immense potential to endanger innocent members of the public.
“This is above and beyond the harm they already do our communities through manufacture and trafficking of drugs.”
He expected 13 of the arrested people to front court by that afternoon.