Police yesterday arrested nine people and seized drugs, cash and a firearm as part of a significant operation led by the Echo Taskforce targeting drug trafficking linked to the Mongols Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (OMCG).
Just after 1.50am on 18 July, a 51-year-old Cobram man was arrested by police on the Barooga-Cobram bridge after crossing the border into Victoria from New South Wales.
A search of his vehicle uncovered a loaded firearm and a significant quantity of cash.
Twelve search warrants were subsequently executed early that morning at residential and commercial properties across Cobram.
A search warrant was also carried out at the Mongols club house in Echuca.
Members of the Echo Taskforce, Armed Crime Squad, Vehicle Crime Squad, Cobram Crime Investigation Unit, Eastern Region Crime Squad, Western Regional Crime Squad and the AFP National Anti Gang Squad (NAGS) were all involved in today’s operational activity.
Of the nine people arrested, seven have been charged as follows:
• A 51-year-old Cobram man has been charged with traffick large commercial quantity of drugs, possess proceeds of crime, and possessing a handgun and had been remanded to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court today;
• A 29-year-old Cobram man, who is also a Mongols sergeant at arms, has been charged with traffick large commercial quantity of drugs and Possessing a Firearm Related Item while subject to a Firearm Prohibition Order, and remanded to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court today;
• An 18-year-old Cobram woman has been charged with traffick large commercial quantity of drugs and remanded to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court today;
• A 25-year-old Cobram woman has been charged with traffick drug of dependence and possess proceeds of crime, and bailed to appear at Cobram Magistrates’ Court on 22 December;
• A 28-year-old Cobram woman has been charged with possess proceeds of crime and bailed to appear at Cobram Magistrates’ Court on 22 December;
• A 30-year-old Cobram man has been charged with possess explosives, possess drug of dependence, and possess proceeds of crime and bailed to appear at Cobram Magistrates’ Court on 22 December; and
• A 26-year-old Cobram man will be charged on summons with possess proceeds of crime and firearm storage related offences.
A 49-year-old Cobram man and a 27-year-old Cobram man were both released pending further enquiries.
A number of items were also seized from the addresses, including:
• A significant quantity of cash and a cash counter;
• Drugs including approx. 2.5kg cocaine, 1kg methylamphetamine and GHB;
• A loaded handgun and ammunition;
• Vehicles including a Range Rover, Holden Commodore, Holden ute and a motorcycle;
• Illegal fireworks;
• Designer clothing, handbags, watches and jewellery; and
• Computer equipment.
Yesterday’s warrants form part of a significant investigation by Taskforce Echo into the activities of the Mongols OMCG, in particular drug manufacture and trafficking.
Anyone with information about OMCG activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill, Crime Command:
“To arrest nine people yesterday and seize drugs, cash, a firearm and more as a result of this targeted investigation is an incredibly pleasing result for Victoria Police and testament to weeks of hard work by our investigators, particularly the Echo Taskforce.
“The Mongols are a group we know have traditionally been involved in violent crimes such as shootings, assaults, arson, drug trafficking, extortion and intimidation.
“These activities bring immense harm to communities across Australia and often significantly impact innocent people who have no links to the OMCG.
“These warrants also highlight the reach that these organised crime groups have across the state – this is the heart of country Victoria, not the suburbs of Melbourne, and is a reminder of the harm they are prepared to cause anywhere they see an opportunity.
“For many people, they may have had no idea this was happening essentially in their own backyards.
“This result is a warning that regardless of where you operate, criminal organisations such as the Mongols will be held accountable for their criminal actions and police will actively work to disrupt their activities.
“Victoria Police is committed to disrupting and dismantling the criminal networks linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs and will do everything within their powers to protect the community from the dangers those groups pose.”