THE failure to honour the
old bikie code of remaining under law enforcement radar appears to
have led to a series of Hunter raids on properties allegedly linked
to gun and drug trafficking.
The public shooting of
Nomads enforcer Matt Eather, who was found on a Port Stephens dirt
track in April with bullet wounds to both legs and a fractured thigh
bone, first sparked the interest of the state’s gangs squad.
Strike Force Wilwendam was
created and, with the help of local detectives, culminated in raids
on five premises at Gillieston Heights, Rutherford, Telarah and
Raymond Terrace and the arrests of five people.
Police allegedly seized
guns, including a loaded shotgun in a bed at Gillieston Heights,
stun guns, drugs, steroids and tens of thousands of dollars in cash.
It will be alleged those arrested - three men and two women - were closely associated with either the Nomads or Finks bikie gangs and were involved in a gun and drug supply ring with tentacles reaching across the Hunter.
Gangs squad commander Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace confirmed to Fairfax Media that the shooting of Mr Eather, which remains unsolved, had sparked interest within detectives ranks to start investigating the Nomads bike gang’s activities across the region.
“We have certainly been
concerned following the shooting and other violent acts,’’ Detective
Superintendent Wallace said.
“It is sometimes difficult to solve shootings and we felt we needed to investigate what the underlying issues were.
“People do not get shot for nothing, there is a catalyst.
“It was up to us to discover what was underpinning these acts of violence.’’
Fairfax Media revealed in
April that detectives were investigating whether an unpaid debt may
have been a motive in the shooting of Mr Eather, who was once the
gang’s Newcastle enforcer while holding the chapter’s
No one has ever been charged with the shooting, but the following investigation allegedly uncovered the illegal trade of guns, as well as drug supply chains.
As well as the loaded sawn-off shotgun, police allegedly seized a .44 calibre semi-automatic handgun from the Gillieston Heights property.
Police did not release the
amount of methylamphetamine (ice), ecstasy and cannabis they
allegedly seized during the raids.
Three men, aged between 23
and 27, and two woman, aged 31 and 32, were expected to be charged
on Tuesday night with a range of offences.
Detective Superintendent Wallace said investigations were continuing and detectives were still looking making “a number of other enquiries”.