Police have charged several people across northern NSW – including a man in the Hunter who police allege to be a senior bikie – during raids targeting the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle gang this week.
The State Crime Command’s Raptor Squad seized illegal weapons, ammunition, outlaw motorcycle gang paraphernalia, prescription medication and illicit drugs during the operation, which resulted in a range of weapon and drug charges. All items confiscated are being forensically examined.
Benjamin Paul Adams, a 33-year-old man who police allege is a high-ranking member of the Bandidos, was arrested during a raid at a Thornton home early on Tuesday morning and charged with affray.
He is accused of punching a 27-year-old man in the head at a boat ramp at Port Stephens in July.
Police allegedly seized outlaw motorcycle gang clothing, a mobile phone, prescription drugs, a modified weapon and more than $12,000 in cash during the search at Thornton.
Mr Adams was refused bail when he faced Maitland Local Court on Friday – he will reappear before the court next Thursday.
Meanwhile, two men – aged 54 and 45 – are expected to be charged after Raptor Squad police searched a house in Wauchope, near Port Macquarie, on Tuesday and seized prohibited drugs, an extendable baton, ammunition, Bandidos supporter clothing and other items.
Police said the men would be issued court attendance notices for possessing a prohibited drug. Around the same time on Tuesday, police allegedly uncovered a ballistic vest, outlaw motorcycle gang clothing, cash and prohibited drugs at a home at South West Rocks.
A 32-year-old alleged Bandidos member was charged with possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit. He was granted bail and will face Kempsey Local Court on November 8. On Tuesday afternoon, police seized two poker machines, Bandidos clothing and cash from a home at Port Macquarie.
Police said on Friday their investigation in relation to that search was ongoing. Then, Raptor Squad police raided a home at West Kempsey where they arrested a 34-year-old man and later charged him with weapon-related counts.
Officers confiscated two gel blasters and 12 packets of gel balls. He was granted bail and will face Kempsey Local Court on November 8.
“This is further evidence that no matter where you are in NSW, if you want to be a bikie or associate with bikies, Raptor is watching,” Raptor Squad commander Superintendent Jason Weinstein said.
“If you think by living in northern NSW, away from Sydney, that you are out of reach of Raptor, you need to think again.
“All communities have the right to feel safe, and police will continue to seek out those who participate in criminal activity with intelligence-led policing methods such as those employed in the Week of Action.”
Police said Raptor Squad expected to make more arrests as part of the operation.