Three men have been arrested following an alleged money laundering operation linked with the Comanchero Motorcycle Club.
The men, aged 35, 36 and 37, are facing charges in relation to money laundering and participating in organised crime, following an investigation by the National Organised Crime Group dubbed Operation Rider.
The men – including a patched Comanchero gang member, an associate and a motor vehicle dealer – were arrested from properties in Auckland’s Silverdale, Sandringham and Mt Wellington on Wednesday, a police spokesman confirmed.
The operation has seen more than $650,000 worth of assets seized by police under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.
NZ Police/SuppliedThree men have been arrested and more than $650,000 worth of assets seized following an investigation into alleged money laundering by the Comanchero Motorcycle Club.
Those assets involved five high value luxury vehicles, including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz cars, including a rare Mercedes G-class wagon worth over $250,000.
Detective Inspector Julian Rinckes said the focus into alleged money laundering by the Comancheros gang began in late 2019, following Operation Nova – which saw eight people arrested and $3.7 million worth of assets seized.
One of the men arrested on Wednesday had allegedly used his professional skills to assist the Comanchero and his associate with their crimes, he said.
“Those offering their professional services to organised criminal groups remain on notice that they are not immune to being held to account for their offending.”
He added that the value of the seized assets indicated the type of money crime groups such as the Comancheros have at their disposal.
“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. By enabling organised crime groups to conceal the profits of their illegal activities, it is continuing a cycle of harm imposed on vulnerable communities that are preyed on by these groups.”
Police have intercepted more than $5 million in assets from the Comancheros since 2019.
Furthers arrests and charges have not been ruled out.
NZ Police/SuppliedFive luxury vehicles hae been seized during Operation Rider, including this limited edition Mercedes G-class wagon worth about $250,000.
– The Comanchero Motorcycle Club was formed by William George “Jock” Ross, a Scottish immigrant, in Sydney in 1968.
– Ross chose the name after seeing the John Wayne film The Comancheros.
– In 1982, a second chapter was formed by Anthony Mark “Snoddy” Spencer. When visiting the United States, Spencer met members of the Texan motorcycle club, the Bandidos, and the two gangs became allies.
– The Bandidos eventually patched-over the second Comanchero chapter to become the Bandidos’ first Australian chapter.
– The Comanchero and Bandidos are now rivals and, in 1984, the two clubs were involved in the Milperra massacre in Sydney, a shoot-out which left seven people dead, including four Comancheros, two Bandidos, and a 14-year-old bystander.