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ajor cocaine, ice racket smashed in Qld

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The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) says it has smashed a major cocaine and ice racket on the Gold Coast linked to Hells Angels.

It comes after a major covert investigation known as Operation Atlanta, which targeted organised crime in the area.

Four men, allegedly major players in a distribution network that had links to the Hells Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, are facing over 650 separate criminal charges as a result of the investigation.

A 41-year-old has been charged with 244 offences, a 55 year-old property developer has been charged with 296 offences and a 46-year-old has been charged with 26 offences.

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All three have been charged with trafficking and supplying ice and cocaine.

The 41-year-old man was also charged with producing ice.

A 55-year-old Gold Coast man was charged by the CCC last month as part of the operation, with 91 offences including trafficking ice and cocaine and 74 counts of supplying drugs.

It will be alleged the men were involved in an ice production and distribution site was running out of Tedder Avenue, Main Beach

The wholesale value of the ice is approximately $250,000 but would have a significantly larger street value after being cut, repackaged and sold.

A range of weapons were also seized during the operation including a pump action shotgun, rifle, butterfly knife and a taser.

The men were bailed and are expected to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on 3 March 2017.

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Alex Vella: Rebels bikie boss writes poetry in Malta as his once mighty gang crumbles

IT’S not quite Alcatraz, but the tiny, rundown apartment in Malta where Rebels bikie boss Alex Vella languishes in exile is as good as any prison.

Vella, a dual national, led the once powerful outlaw ­motorcycle gang for 40 years until his Australian residency was revoked in 2014 under the federal government’s tough new immigration laws for ­deporting “undesirables”.

Since Vella has been blocked from returning to Australia, the leaderless Rebels have been embroiled in a bloody turf war on the streets of Sydney, resulting in a number of senior gang members being assassinated and much of the gang’s power base eroding away.

Alex Vella, former National President of the Rebels Motorcycle Club in Australia, says he is broke but will never give up trying to return to Australia. Picture: David Dyson

The Daily Telegraph caught up with Vella in Malta, where he spends most of his time writing poetry, with just a few pet birds for company.

In an exclusive interview, Vella, 64, said he was desperate to return to Australia, claiming he’s broke and living off the generosity of friends.

Vella had travelled to Malta in June 2014 to settle an old tax debt and visit family members when the federal government swooped, revoking his residency and stranding him permanently on the other side of the world from his Australian wife Heather and his two adult children.

The 63-year-old, exiled in Malta, spends his days writing poetry and tending to his pet birds. Picture: David Dyson

Despite leading the Rebels for 41 years, Vella insists he has done nothing wrong. “I’m an innocent man,” he said in the scruffy apartment, which a friend lets him use for free.

“I am not a kidnapper. I may have been in a few hotel fights but that is all.

“I am not in organised crime. If that was the case I would have been in jail a long time ago.”

After Vella’s residency visa was cancelled under the newly introduced section 501 of the Migration Act, the Rebels were “hit from all angles”, according to NSW gangs squad chief Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace.

Alex Vella with his friend Father Raphael DeMartino in Malta. Picture: David Dyson

“They are certainly feeling the effects,” she said.

“The Rebels find themselves leaderless, with a number of their senior members no longer around.”

When The Daily Telegraph sat down with Vella — who is widely known as The Maltese Falcon — at a street cafe in the small town of Mosta, he brought along his old friend Father Raphael ­DeMartino from the nearby Mosta Catholic Church.

Alex Vella, leading a procession at the funeral of Rebels motorcycle gang murder victims Hubert Western and Graham Nixon in 1999, has had his Visa revoked.

“Alex is a good man and it isn’t fair what they are doing to him,” Father DeMartino said with apparent bewilderment that anyone could question his friend’s integrity.

“I hear what they have done and it breaks my heart.”

Vella still sports his distinctive mullet and gold rings, and his vice-like handshake is a firm reminder that he was once a professional boxer.

The colourful father-of-two chuckles as he reveals that he can’t read or write and often has to ask passers-by in Malta’s narrow streets to scribble down words and rhymes as they come to him.

“I cannot read and write but I can count,” he said when pressed about how he earned all his money.

Vella has also been targeted by a government taskforce of police, Tax Office and ­social security investigators, and says he has been told he owes the ATO $1.8 million.

He has spent the past 32 months staying with friends in Malta and relying heavily on the generosity of others.

“I’ve had to sell property,” he said. “And I borrowed from my son, I borrowed from my wife’s brother.

Senior bikie Mark Easter was murdered and his body dumped in bushland.

Rebels Sergeant at Arms Darren Wallace was gunned down in broad daylight.

“Police have been picking on me since I was 15 years old. But I will never stop trying to come home.”

It may well be a fruitless task because Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said Vella will “never” be allowed back into Australia because he has failed the country’s character test.

“This man is a foreign ­national,” Mr Dutton said.

“His visa to enter Australia has been cancelled. He will not be issued another visa. He will never return to Australia.”

Former Rebels enforcer Ricky Ciano was executed earlier this month.

Vella is one of the most high-profile scalps claimed by the government in its campaign to deport dual nationals who fail the character test.

Mr Dutton and Justice Minister Michael Keenan have said bikie gang leaders were targeted as part of an ­organised effort to disrupt the outlaw gangs and “cut the head off the snake’’.

In 2015, Vella appealed his visa revocation in the Federal Court but lost after police ­tendered documents detailing more than 1200 crimes allegedly committed by Rebels ­bikies while he was in charge.

The crimes ranged from kidnapping to extortion and drug trafficking.

Rebels Motorcycle Club national president Alex Vella pictured in Port Augusta on October 14, 2000. Picture: Cronin David

Vella denies any involvement in those charges and says he has been unfairly placed on the Interpol watchlist, which heavily restricts his ability to travel. “I am being targeted financially so that I cannot fight back,” he said.

“They (the ATO) threw the book at me saying I was a bike dealer and I owed $1.8 million in unpaid tax.

“I might sell a few bikes here and there but I am a collector,” he said. “I had to settle a few months ago and it really hurt me.”

Vella, who still owns several properties in Australia — including his old Rebels clubhouse in Leppington — said he had been forced to sell ­numerous assets to pay debts.



Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Club formed in Brisbane.


At just 19, Alex Vella joins the Dubbo chapter of the Rebels in rural NSW.


Vella starts up a Sydney chapter of the Rebels and is appointed the club’s national president.


Vella is jailed after police find $15,000 worth of marijuana in his home.

June 2014

When Vella travels to Malta for a holiday and to visit family, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison cancels his residency visa, stranding him there.

August 2014

With Vella gone, six Rebels are arrested over the kidnapping and torture
of a former member.


Vella says he can’t read or write and often has to ask passers-by in Malta’s narrow streets to scribble down words and rhymes as they come to him. Picture: David Dyson

November 2014

Four Rebels are arrested over the shooting of a fellow gang member.

June 2015

Senior Rebels enforcer Mark Easter’s body found dumped in bushland.

December 2015

Rebel Tevita Daunibau shoots dead Sergeant at Arms Darren Wallace in Picton before turning the gun on himself. Police believe Wallace had been trying to leave the gang.

March 2016

Michael Davey, believed to be a Rebel, is shot dead in a driveway in Kingswood.

December 2016

A group of nine alleged Rebels are arrested over the murder of Mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro.

February 2017

Former Rebels enforcer Ricky Ciano is found dead in a car in Oberon, west of Sydney. He had a price on his head and is believed to have been executed.


ajor cocaine, ice racket smashed in Qld

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