Police target illicit firearms in Rebels OMCG swoop across Victoria

Detectives have issued a number of Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs) as part of an operation to disrupt and deter illicit firearms use across Bendigo and Melbourne’s south and north-west this morning.

The operation targeting Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members involved police from the Echo and VIPER Taskforces, Gang Crime Squad and Southern Metro Region Crime Team, Casey Crime Investigation Unit, AFP National Anti-Gang Squad and Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit.

Police carried out seven early morning searches on Wednesday 30 November at addresses including Kurting, Strathfieldsaye, North Bendigo, Lockwood, Narre Warren, Lower Plenty, and Drysdale.

Six FPOs were issued to individuals who are known members of the Rebels OMCG including with a further FPO compliance search also being conducted;

• A 63-year-old Kurting man was found in possession of a large amount of gun powder as well as various amounts of ammunitions such a rifle bullets and shotgun shells. He was charged with possessing explosive substance without lawful excuse and possess ammunition without a licence. He will face Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on 20 April, 2023.

• A 32-year-old Strathfieldsaye man was found in possession of a prohibited weapon and issued a penalty notice.

• A 49-year-old North Bendigo man, believed to be a chapter president, was found in possession of a prohibited weapon and issued a penalty notice.

• A 52-year-old Lockwood man – nothing was located in this search.

• A 32-year-old Narre Warren man, believed to be a sergeant at arms, was found to be in possession of small amounts of cocaine and cannabis and is expected to be charged on summons.

• A 38-year-old Lower Plenty man was found in possession of two firearms magazines and a quantity of ‘magic mushrooms’. Police also located a hydroponic cannabis set up. He has been charged with cultivating cannabis, possess drug of dependence, fail to surrender firearm related item on service of FPO and possess prohibited weapon.

• A 39-year-old Drysdale man – nothing was located in this search.

Firearm Prohibition Orders are a legislative provision that give police specific powers to proactively respond to, disrupt and prevent firearm-related crime in Victoria and keep the community safe.

Once issued, an FPO remains in effect for 10 years for adults and five years for children between 14 and 17 years of age.

During that time, the individual is prohibited from acquiring, possessing, carrying or using any firearm related item such as ammunition.

The charges relating to FPOs include up to 10 years imprisonment for acquiring, possessing, carrying or using a firearm or firearm related item.

Since they were introduced in May 2018, Victoria Police has issued over 1700 FPOs across the state.

Anyone with information about illicit firearm activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.auExternal Link

Quotes attributed to Senior Sergeant Ash Ryan from Echo Taskforce:

“Outlaw motorcycle gangs remain a significant national problem, not just in our bigger cities but also in regional towns like Bendigo.

“FPOs are not issued only based on a person’s criminal history with firearms – they are being issued to those people we know have a significant history of serious violent crime or who are linked to serious and organised crime groups.

“By actively working to reduce the number of illicit firearms in the community, we will reduce the amount of serious crimes those weapons enable.

“Make no mistake – police will continue to do everything within their power to make sure firearms stay out of the wrong hands.”

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