FORMER Rebels bikie state president, convicted drug trafficker and long-term Australian resident Colin David Picard has been sent back to his native New Zealand.
The removal of the 69-year-old former Launceston resident followed his failed bid to remain in the state.
Once described as the “apex” of a trafficking operation on a scale rarely seen in Tasmania, Picard had his visa cancelled on character grounds.
The Mercury understands he was taken from Risdon Prison yesterday to the airport and on to Auckland.
It is understood he agreed to go after losing his appeal in the Federal Court in December.
Without a visa the penniless, sick and “retired” bikie boss had few options.
Picard is another scalp for the Federal Government, which has introduced a tough policy of booting out non-citizens with significant criminal records.
Also on the list is Tasmania Rebels founder and fellow Kiwi AJ Graham, whose appeal against his visa cancellation is still before the court.
Picard’s downfall began in 2010 when Tasmania Police launched Operation Dorothy — an investigation into the trafficking of methamphetamine into North, South and North-West Tasmania.
Detectives uncovered a network that saw drugs sourced from interstate and onsold to Picard.
In 2011 he was arrested and charged.
He pleaded guilty to trafficking 36 ounces of meth with a street value estimated to be somewhere between $128,000 and $504,400, depending on how it was sold.
At the time Picard was supplying not only Rebels chapters statewide but also rival clubs.
Prosecutors placed him at the “apex of a trafficking chain’’ and he was sentenced to three years’ jail, 18 months non-parole, in 2013.
His demise saw the end of the Launceston Rebels chapter, which closed its clubhouse.
Last year Immigration Minister Peter Dutton cancelled his visa.
Despite being a “retired” member of the Rebels, Picard told authorities he would continue “riding with them” once released from Risdon Prison.
Mr Dutton said Picard’s 27-year membership of the Rebels, his connection with the club and his poor financial state “casts doubt on his prospects for avoiding further criminal behaviour”.
Picard, who had lived here for more than 30 years, appealed against the decision on the grounds he had been denied procedural fairness.
The court heard it was not obvious to him that saying he would continue “riding with his mates” would come back to haunt him.