Last updated on June 25, 2020
Police have arrested the entire senior hierarchy of the Mongols gang on multiple charges after a significant organised crime operation in the Bay of Plenty.
National organised crime group Detective Superintendent Greg Williams said there were at least 228 charges for “a raft of serious criminal offences” including participating in organised crime, money laundering, supplying meth, cocaine and possession of firearms and explosives.
They have recovered 28 firearms, including AK47, AR15, a number of shotguns and pistols, Molotov cocktails (glass bottles with flammable substances) and a homemade bomb.
Also seized were drugs and cash.
“This operation today gives a clear message that the anti-social behaviour of this gang simply will not be tolerated in New Zealand,” Williams said.
Two senior members of the Mongols are facing charges after police intercepted plans for a firearms attack on a rival gang as recently as two weeks ago.
“All this violence is really simply about this gang and the gangs in the [Bay of Plenty] fighting for a share of the drug market.
“What’s concerning is their propensity not only to arm up, but to use those firearms as well as commit other serious violent offences, such as arson, aggravated robbery, serious assaults and violence to protect their share of the market,” Williams said.
All nine of the patched members that police were after in the Bay have been charged.
Since January 2020, there have been six shootings involving the Mongols and rival gangs.
Williams would not say the gang had been disbanded, but believed a significant dent had been made. The termination would make it harder for the group to commit serious crime.
“One of our key focuses is to take that profit out of gangs.”
Meth is a very addictive drug and gangs preyed on those who were addicted, he added.
Tauranga, and the Bay of Plenty, had one of the highest numbers per capital of gang members.
While Operation Silk took place in the Bay of Plenty, Auckland NOCG also ran Operation Nestegg which focused on Auckland-based Mongols.
In May a number of search warrants were executed in Auckland and Tokoroa that were linked to this investigation.
Items seized included five firearms, approximately $400,000 cash and half a kilogram of methamphetamine.
Australian national Brodie Collins-Haskins, 26, was identified as part of Operation Nestegg in Auckland and a warrant has been put out for his arrest.
“He could be anywhere. If you see him or you observe him, please contact your local police,” Williams said.
Collins-Haskins is described as 177 centimetres tall and of medium build.
He has multiple tattoos on his arms and legs, including a nun on his right upper arm, a skull on his left calf and “GRANDMA” alongside wool and knitting needles on his left foot.”
Collins-Haskins was considered dangerous and should not be approached.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement that the operation against the Mongols would have a significant impact on the methamphetamine trade and inter-gang violence in the region.
The Mongols, whose patch depicts Genghis Khan on a motorcycle, were founded in the United States 50 years ago. They describe themselves as the “baddest and fastest growing club in the world”.
The bikie gang, led by national president Jim ‘JD’ Thacker, established a chapter in the Bay of Plenty last year.
It later expanded into the South Island, where it has a fortified club house on the outskirts of Christchurch.
In recent months, Mongols members from both chapters have been involved in a series of tit-for-tat incidents with rivals.
Thacker, a former president of a Bandidos chapter in Queensland, is among more than 2000 people known as 501s, deported to New Zealand since 2014 changes to immigration law.
The arrival of the 501s, named after the character section of their visas were cancelled under, has radically changed New Zealand’s gang landscape.
New groups, most notably the Comanchero MC and Mongols, have established and, according to police data, gang membership increased nearly 50 per cent in the four years to June last year.
On May 15, the national gang register carried the names of 82 of the 501s.
Police previously said many of the deported gang members were powerful and influential figures in the Australian underworld who brought with them professionalism, a new flashy image and significant international connections.
There were concerns the arrival of the new international gangs – known for their propensity for violence, particularly their use of guns – would lead to clashes as rival groups like the Mongrel Mob tried to protect their turf.
Last month, police confirmed they were setting up the first South Island branch of the National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) that would be based out of Christchurch and report to Police National Headquarters.
Similar specialist groups, which focus solely on organised crime, exist in Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga.