A police search of a large property in the Murray Mallee region for evidence connected with two South Australian murder cases is continuing today.
The expansive search began yesterday with police, led by a team from the Major Crime Investigation Branch, arriving en masse at the Ponde property about 8.30am.
Detective Superintendent Des Bray, the officer in charge of Major Crime, said a man who was at the property ran from the arriving police officers, butwas subsequently spoken to and has not been charged with any offences.
Police from the Crime Gangs Taskforce, Murray Mallee Local Service Area, State Tactical Response Group returned to the property, which had been guarded overnight, this morning.
The 15ha property is infamous for drag racing and concert events hosted by the Adelaide chapter of the Hells Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG). The OMCG has owned and operated the property for decades.
Yesterday’s search located two firearms – a rifle and a shotgun which are being forensically tested – and a stolen tip-truck.
Detective Superintendent Bray said those items were not those specifically being sought – those which are being the firearms involved in a 1999 fatal shooting in Wright St, Adelaide and a vehicle (a Toyota Echo) connected with the 2017 murder of Mark Boyce.
Earlier this year a man was found guilty by a jury of the murder of Mr Boyce, but two co-offenders remain outstanding.
Twenty years ago Graham Nixon, 33, Sinibaldo Palombi, 35, and Hubert Western, 32 – who were all members of the Rebel OMCG – were shot outside their clubrooms in Wright Street. Two Hells Angels members were subsequently arrested, however the charges were withdrawn due to a lack of co-operation by members of the Rebels.
“In addition to those matters, we’re aware this property has been used in the past, and is currently being used, to store illegal firearms,” Detective Superintendent Bray said.
Police have scanned nine separate zones at the property which have been scanned and are being searched or excavated.
“We will continue as long as necessary to complete a thorough and comprehensive search of this property,” he said.
“We have no doubt illegal firearms are on this property, but to find firearms on a property of this size is a mammoth task.”
He said police would not commit such a large amount of resources unless they thought there was a reasonable prospect of finding what they are looking for despite the obvious challenges of searching the large, scrubby, undulating property.
‘What this does show is that some 20 years later we have got new information – there is always information out there and we never consider cases such as these closed,” he said.