Bandidos charged after blackmail investigation

Detectives from the Echo Taskforce have this morning arrested five patched members and associates of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) as part of an investigation into an alleged blackmail.

With assistance from the VIPER Taskforce and police from the North West Metro and Western Regions, searches were carried out at five addresses in Norlane, Hoppers Crossing, Narre Warren, Cranbourne East and Rowville early this morning

A 53-year-old Rowville man, a chapter vice president, was charged with blackmail and possess prohibited weapons offences.

A 41-year-old Narre Warren man, an official chapter bearer, was charged with blackmail.

A 35-year-old Cranbourne East man, a probationary member, was charged with blackmail and possess cannabis.

The trio was bailed to appear at Latrobe Magistrates’ Court on 11 October.

A 53-year-old Norlane man, a patched member, was charged with possess amphetamine.

He was bailed to appear at Geelong Magistrates’ Court on 18 January, 2023.

Enquiries are ongoing regarding the offence of blackmail.

A 55-year-old Hoppers Crossing woman was released pending further enquiries.

Detectives located a hydroponic set up at the Norlane address and seized cannabis plants and dried cannabis, cocaine and amphetamine.

Police also seized knuckle dusters from the Rowville address.

These charges form part of an investigation into an alleged blackmail and subsequent threats made to a victim earlier this year.

The investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Quotes attributable to Detective Acting Inspector Ash Ryan, Echo Taskforce:

“We have seen a number of police activities targeting the Bandidos OMCG recently, reinforcing that Victoria Police will take action against these groups.

“If they believe they can operate above the law, then they are wrong. We will continue to target their criminal activities regardless of what form that takes.

“Whilst we understand it can be difficult for victims to engage with police in these matters, overwhelmingly it has been shown to be the safest approach and we encourage all victims of similar matters to report them to police.

“It’s important that the community is aware of the support police can provide when they are a victim of offending such as this, and that we will do everything we can to ensure those who purposely intimidate the public in this way are held to account.

“We will hold offenders to account and make every effort to stamp out their violent and unlawful ventures.”

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