SHOW OF FORCE: Officers from Strike Force Raptor have swooped on the headquarters of Gunnedah’s Gladiators outlaw motorcycle gang. Photos: Gareth Gardner 040414GGE10/
POLICE have shut down a prominent outlaw motorcycle gang’s clubhouse in an extraordinary show of force, with dozens of specialist officers storming the Gunnedah compound.
Strike Force Raptor officers – the force’s dedicated bikie gang squad based in Sydney – moved in on the Gladiator’s headquarters in Bloomfield St backed by local police in a secret daylight operation on Friday.
Three Gladiator bikies were ordered onto the ground as more than 30 officers pounced in numbers, before a dog swept through the club, and armed police secured the area.
Five men in total – two service club volunteers operating a barbecue along with three bikies – were put against a wall, their identity confirmed and every part of their body and clothing searched for illegal weapons and drugs.
The head of the operation, Oxley Inspector Jeff Budd, made no apologies for the tough stance.
“These clubs are run by outlaw motorcycle gangs, they are not in the country for the fresh air, and the home cooked meals. They are criminally active, they are out here doing their business, and they are a threat to our community,” he said.
As well as Raptor officers, the Western Region’s riot squad, a drug dog, general duties dog, detectives, highway patrol, the rescue squad, licensing and Oxley police backed the operation which was timed to coincide with the gang’s poker ride on Saturday.
“Anyone that wants to be involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang is there for one reason and one reason only and that’s criminal activity,” Inspector Budd said.
“We expected there would be large numbers of outlaw motorcycle gang members attending. We’ve dismantled their club, we’ve taken their party away so I suppose time will tell.”
Inspector Budd said the outlaw motorcycle gangs hid illegal activities behind the guise of club membership.
“At this point in time we take everything that is involved with the premises being involved in partaking of restricted illegal activities, so everything, every piece of content inside that building has been seized,” Inspector Budd said.
Police confirmed all but one of the five men were local, while the remaining identifies as a Gladiator member from another chapter.