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Raid on Aussie bike gang 'just start'

Police have made a significant dent in an Australian motorcycle gang's bid to take hold in Northland and say they will continue to take a tough line with all gangs in the region.

Six members of the Rebels gang were arrested in Northland as part of a national police raid targeting drugs and firearms on Thursday.

The arrested men had been members of the Tribesmen gang but had switched patches to join the Rebels - Australia's largest outlaw motorcycle gang.

Earlier this month, police revealed the Rebels MC gang was taking over the Tribesmen in a rebranding process known as "patching over".

A Black Power gang member was also arrested.

Northland police crime manager Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus could not say how long the Aussie gang had been recruiting in Northland but their colours had appeared over the past few months.

"They have been dealt a severe blow and may be having to rethink their world," Ms Malthus said.

"Our intention is to disrupt their criminal activities. We have had an immediate impact but that's not the end to it."

Rebels were well known across the ditch for their involvement in the manufacture and distribution of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, murder, arson, assault, sexual offending and possession of firearms.

"With a prevalence of gangs comes a prevalence of drug dealing and criminal activity," Ms Malthus said.

Police believe the motive for creating a New Zealand chapter of rebels came down to generating more money.

Police aimed to disrupt the Rebels getting a foothold in Northland but would also focus on other criminal gangs in the community, Ms Malthus said.

Across New Zealand, 31 offenders were arrested.

Two of the arrested men who appeared in Whangarei District Court on Thursday were Leon John Kereopa, 36, unemployed, of Onerahi, who was jointly charged with Martin Frederick Paikea, 42, gardener, of Onerahi.

They both face three charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition and were bailed to appear again later this month.

2011 AAP


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