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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Bandidos charged in Hunter Raptor Squad raid

Raptor Squad investigators have seized nine firearms and charged 10 people – including five Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members – during a proactive, high-visibility police operation across the state’s Northern Region this week.

Between Monday 21 June and Thursday 24 June, as part of ongoing targeting and disruption of the illicit activities of criminal networks, State Crime Command officers conducted seven Firearm Prohibition Order (FPO) searches, two firearm safe storage inspections and eight search warrants across at suburbs including Weston, Kurri Kurri, Greta, Coffs Harbour, Thornton, Arakoon, South West Rocks and Kempsey.

Ten people, including five Bandidos OMCG members, were arrested during the operation.

About noon on Monday 21 June, Raptor Squad officers conducted an FPO search at a home at Weston, seizing ammunition, a wooden rifle, a knife and cannabis.

Raptor Squad officers during an investigation at Kurri Kurri. Photo: NSW Police Force

A 31-year-old man was arrested at the home and taken to Maitland Police Station.

A short time later, officers conducted a safe storage inspection at a property at Kurri Kurri.

There, police detected a number of breaches and five firearms – including four bolt action riffles and a shotgun – were seized.

The man, who is a senior Bandidos OMCG member, was charged with possess prohibited drug, use prohibited weapon contrary to prohibition order, possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit, possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority, acquire ammunition subject to prohibition order, acquire firearm part without authority to do so and acquire firearm part (subject to prohibition order).

He appeared at Cessnock Local Court on Tuesday 22 June, where he was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the same court on Wednesday 11 August.

About 10.15am on Tuesday 22 June, Raptor Squad officers conducted a safe storage inspection at a home at Greta.

Two men – aged 63 and 41 – had their firearms licence suspended and four firearms and a large quantity of ammunition were seized.

Inquiries are continuing.

On Wednesday 23 June, officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District, with assistance from Raptor Squad, executed seven search warrants and conducted two FPO searches within the Coffs Harbour area.

During the operation, police arrested three men – aged 29, 41 and 53 – and a 46-year-old woman.

All four were charged with drug-related offences and remain before the courts.

About 6.30am on Thursday 24 June, Raptor Squad officers conducted an FPO search at a home at Arakoon and seized knuckle dusters, cocaine, cannabis, prescription medication and steroids.

Two males – aged 30 and 54 – were both issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for possess prohibited drug.

The men, who are both Bandidos OMCG members, are due to appear at Kempsey Local Court on Monday 23 August.

A 23-year-old man was arrested and taken to Kempsey Police Station, where he was charged with possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit, possess/attempt to anabolic or androgenic steroidal agent, possess/attempt to, prescribed restricted substance and four counts of possess prohibited drug.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Kempsey Local Court on Monday 12 July.

Just after 6.30am on Thursday 24 June, Raptor Squad officers executed a search warrant a home at South West Rocks, seizing several items including a mobile phone and cannabis.

A 32-year-old man, who is a senior Bandidos OMCG member, was issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) for possess prohibited drug and will appear at court at a later date.

About noon on Thursday 24, Raptor Squad officers conducted an FPO and Weapons Prohibition Order (WPO) search at a home at West Kempsey.

During the search, police seized steroids and prescription medication.

A 47-year-old man was arrested and taken to Kempsey Police Station, where he was charged with possess prescribed restricted substance and possess prohibited drug.

The male, who is a Bandidos OMCG member, was refused bail to appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on Friday 25 June.

Raptor Squad officers in action at Kurri Kurri. Photo: NSW Police Force

Raptor Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein said the week-long operation was one of many proactive strategies being implemented by officers to ensure public safety.

“We’ve been working diligently to continue building on strategies to suppress public acts of violence and target organised crime groups and illicit the activities that cause them,” he explained.

“In light of recent events – where good, innocent people have been put in danger – these high-impact operations are just one tool in our arsenal against violent criminal groups.

“Raptor Squad will continue these operations, with assistant from specialist police and officers across the state, to ensure the safety of the community and to bring those involved in illicit activity to justice.”

Strike Force Raptor was established in 2009, before becoming a standalone unit in 2021.

Anyone with information, including relevant photos and videos, that may assist the Raptor Squad can report it directly to investigators via their online reporting page https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/Default.aspx?id=49 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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