Gang celebrations disrupted
Gang celebrations disrupted.
This weekend's 50th anniversary celebrations by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang were disrupted as part of a planned operation to prevent offending by the gang.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald of OFCANZ, says a gathering of Hells Angels from around New Zealand and from overseas was always going to present a risk of serious offending and of harm to the community.
In the run up to the weekend OFCANZ worked closely with Immigration New Zealand, Customs and Police to firstly identify and then stop overseas gang members getting into New Zealand to take part in the event.
As a result of this 11 were identified travelling and subsequently stopped.
Two were denied visas offshore, seven were offloaded in country of origin, and two landed in NZ and refused entry.
"The multi agency approach meant that we were able to prevent some notorious gang members from entering New Zealand."
"These people are organised criminals, many with long criminal histories relating to drugs and fraud and other serious and violent offending."
"We don't want them here networking and strengthening their ties with their New Zealand counterparts," Mr Wormald said.
"The operation to identify and intervene with international travellers was the direct result of an email located during a search of the Hells Angels Headquarters in Brentwood Avenue Auckland in December last year.
That warrant lead to the arrest of two of the Hells Angels gang who were subsequently charged with dealing and supplying methamphetamine. The email, addressed to Hells Angels chapters worldwide, suggested that they would be a target for law enforcement and border protection officers and suggested a range of methods that could be taken to avoid being detected".
"Significantly the same email was located on a Whanganui Hells Angels member around the same time,” Mr Wormald said.
Further evidence of the Hells Angels network was found during Operation Explorer in Nelson earlier this year. The Red Devils, who were closely aligned to the Hells Angels and had plans to become the first Hells Angels Chapter in the South Island, are now in disarray following the arrest of the entire group on methamphetamine and other drugs charges, conspiring to manufacture bombs, unlawful possession of firearms and being members of an organised criminal group..
"There is no doubt that the Hells Angels internationally are an organised group of criminals. In 50 years they have created many victims of violence and been responsible for pedalling drugs in the community.
The work undertaken by New Zealand Immigration, Customs and Police to disrupt the gang's activity this weekend is part of the whole-of-government focus on organised crime and methamphetamine.
Over the weekend Auckland Police maintained a presence near the gang headquarters. Several infringement notices written out for driving offences including failing to wear seatbelts, vehicle defects and driving behaviour. Two people had their licences suspended for demerit point accumulation.
One gang member’s motorcycle was seized under warrant for unpaid fines totalling $3800 and three other motorcycles were written off the road because they were unsafe.
"The Police will keep a vigilant eye on the gang’s activities and those who have attended from as far afield as Whanganui and Hawkes Bay should be warned that their behaviour on the roads heading home will come under close scrutiny, Mr Wormald said.