Unravelling Cairns crime links to outlaw bikie gang
A POLICE probe into organised crime in Cairns has uncovered a theft and insurance fraud racket and led to the arrest of 18 people, many with links to an outlaw bikie gang.
Cairns detectives expect to lay further charges as part of the operation, codenamed Kilo Entourage, which has now become a statewide investigation with a strong focus on outlaw motorcycle clubs.
Sparked by a $120,000 cigarette heist at a Woree freight depot in 2010, the probe is likely to continue for several more months as police trace a network suspected of moving stolen goods, insurance fraud, drug supply and armed
The 18 people arrested include a fully-fledged member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club's Cairns chapter and associates.
"We anticipate further arrests as the investigation unfolds over the coming months," Cairns CIB Det Sen-Sgt Ed Kinbacher said.
"This investigation is happening across the state.
"We're looking into people up here and in southern Queensland."
Kilo Entourage has so far racked up 52 charges for crimes including property theft, insurance fraud, drug supply and weapons offences.
People arrested also face charges of perverting the course of justice, assault occasioning bodily harm, carnal knowledge and the arson of a $50,000 vehicle.
Further charges of armed robbery, weapons and drug supply, fraud and receiving tainted property are likely, police said.
Detectives are still yet to speak to six more people they believe are linked to the network.
Adam Kellogg, a patch-wearing member of the Bandidos, was charged in July in relation to the theft of $120,000 worth of cigarettes from a Woree service depot more than two years ago.
The stolen smokes were allegedly distributed among club members and associates between Cairns and Townsville.
Mr Kellogg's arrest triggered a series of raids on the homes of associates, where police recovered $47,000 in stolen property including motorcycles, a partially restored F100 truck, mag wheels and mining equipment.
A sawn-off shotgun and $500 worth of drugs also were seized.
The investigation prompted police to put the Bandidos on notice, saying the criminal network's chief suspects were a club member and associates.
"This is merely one cell which is operating under one particular member," Det Sen-Sgt Kinbacher said after Mr Kellogg was arrested.
"It doesn't move much beyond that particular cell, but obviously, the broader group remains a particular focus of police here in north Queensland and they can expect ongoing attention, as can the other outlawed motorcycle gangs which are operating here in north Queensland or have ambitions to do so."
The Bandidos have often been the subject of police attention in Cairns in the past 20 years, most notably in the late 1990s when five Bandido members were charged with killing bouncer Jason Tyler, whose body was found in bushland on the Rex Range.
One of the members was jailed for life for the murder.
A parallel investigation to the murder probe led to several club members and associates being charged with scores of drug offences.
In 2004, a brawl erupted between six police and a group of Bandidos on the side of the Bruce Highway at White Rock.