UPDATE: Victoria Police have charged 19 people following the raids.
Victoria Police anti-bikie task force swooped down on 25 residential and commercial properties across Melbourne early this morning, arresting 21 people.
In a bid to target the Comanchero bikie gang, police issued 27 search warrants across properties in southern metropolitan Melbourne, seizing drugs, cash, cars and motorbikes from numerous properties.
A Range Rover four-wheel-drive and Holden Commodore were impounded from a property in Tobin Way, Lyndhurst in Melbourne south-east.
Neighbour Stephen Van Duynhoven told The Age the property had been regularly visited by police this year. Disturbance from the property, including the noise of smashing windows, was so regular he no longer took notice.
Police believe the outlawed Comanchero motorcycle gang is responsible for 21 non-fatal shootings, 4 arson attacks, serious drug trafficking and firearm offences including the firebombing of South Melbourne’s Kittens nightclub in Feb 2016.
Those arrested will be interviewed and charged with serious offences, confirms Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana in a video shared on Facebook.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) March 13, 2017
“As a result of today’s operation … up to 21 individuals will be interviewed and charged with serious offences including drug trafficking, criminal damage by fire and a number of drive by shootings causing injury to others.”
Today’s operation comes on the back of a campaign begun in July last year by Victorian Police’s Echo Task force targeting criminal activity by the Comanchero gang.
Since July arrests have been made after search warrants were executed at properties in Donvale, Pakenham and Carrum Downs.
Echo Task force is charged with the mission of “preventing, detecting and disrupting illegal activities of organised motorcycle gangs”.
It was established in 2011 to tackle Melbourne’s looming crisis of criminal activity by organised motorcycle gangs.
Crime Department’s Detective Superintendent Doug Fryer’s told Police Life magazine that these gangs are a front for serious criminal activity.
“Organised motorcycle gangs have been linked to drug trafficking, extortion, car re-birthing and serious assaults”.
Since February, police have seized more than 50 firearms and other weapons, drugs and cash after executing more than 60 warrants.
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) March 13, 2017