– Bikie gangs are flexing their muscle in regional Victoria, recruiting local criminals to bolster their ranks and infiltrate towns that may provide fresh markets.
But police are confident of stopping their spread, revealing that a fledgling Rebels chapter in Mildura may have been disbanded because of the blowtorch applied by officers.
Superintendent Craig Gillard said regional Victoria had long been a haven for bikie gangs, and there were troubling signs that their tentacles were spreading.
Superintendent Gillard would not elaborate on the regions police suspected were being targets by bikies, either to set up the town’s first chapter or to compete with existing gangs.
There are at least 27 regional gangs in Victoria, but some areas, such as Gippsland and Victoria’s north-East, have little bikie presence.
Superintendent Gillard said the most recent chapter set up in regional Victoria, the Rebels Mildura chapter, may have died because of several police operations.
At least four members have been arrested for drug and assault offences in the two years since the club opened.
Those members had allegedly been involved in blackmail and armed robberies. In one instance they bundled a man into their clubhouse at gunpoint as neighbours watched on.
Superintendent Gillard said the crackdown in Mildura showed that police had a firm handle on the activities of regional bikies.
He said bikies might try to legitimise their activities by buying local entertainment venues or transport companies. One regional bikie is believed to have a thriving manufacturing business that has never been linked to criminal activity.
He said that while some regional areas had prominent members, many bikies were targeting local criminals to join their gangs. “The attraction is many and varied, but clearly some people who live in those areas want to be part of the OMCG environment.”
Bandidos national president Jason Addison lives in Echuca, but Superintendent Gillard said there was no evidence clubs were using the regions to ensure high-ranking members were in a safer environment than Melbourne.
Bikies may increase their focus on regional Victoria given the conflict in Melbourne between the Hells Angels and Bandidos. The feud prompted police to start Operation Resound last month and warn the public that the gangs had declared war – Niño Bucci


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

This entry was posted in Armed Robbery, Assault, Drug Trafficking, Manufacturing and Dealing, Extortion and Blackmail, Organised Crime and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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