UPDATE: Police have hailed the arrest of the alleged chapter president of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang in Temora as a big win in the war against syndicated bikie crime.
Police from the elite Strike Force Kindra squad, along with Australia’s Border Force and the Australian Federal Police’s National Anti-Gangs Squad, swooped on locations at Temora and Grogan on Thursday and seized a number of illegal drugs and firearms.
A 57-year-old man was arrested at his home in Junee Street, Temora and was later led out in handcuffs before being escorted to Wagga police station.
He was charged with three counts of supply a prohibited drug, one count of possessing a prohibited drug, one count of using a prohibited weapon without a permit, one count of participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity, and a further count of acting with the intent to pervert the course of justice.
Some charges were backdated to February 2016.
It is understood the man refused to accept the charges.
The man then complained of heart problems and after hospital intervention was due to appear in Wagga Local Court on Friday.
Police also searched a house in Ashleford Street, and Temora’s Royal Hotel, where amounts of amphetamine (speed) were seized, along with knives, handcuffs, documentation consistent with drug supply, and Rebels signature outlaw clothing.
A 47-year-old Temora man, who is also an alleged member of the Rebels OMCG, was issued a court attendance notice for possessing a prohibited weapon.
He is due to appear at Temora Local Court on September 27.
“There’s a lot of conjecture out there by the people who are stopped by the police and get upset when they turn to us and say, ‘why aren’t you picking on the big people for supplies and that’, well today’s activities will demonstrate that we are doing both,” Wagga Wagga crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Cloake said.
Strike Force Kindra was set up in late 2016 to target the ongoing supply of prohibited drugs in the Riverina area, and as such the investigation identified Temora as an active area of crime.
Further charges are expected to be laid as police analyse items seized from the Temora operation.
Police warned that outlaw bikie members will be the next targets in the fight against syndicated crime.
“Information about criminal activity, including drug supply, can be reported to Crime Stoppers at anytime and anonymously, if preferred,” Detective Inspector Cloake said. “Any assistance you may provide can be used to prevent violent crimes that put the safety of our community at risk.”
1.34pm: Inspector Darren Cloake has addressed the media in relation to search warrants executed in Temora this morning.
A 57-year-old high-ranking member of the Rebels OMCG was arrested. In his possession was 17 grams of what police will allege is methamphetamine.
The arrest was the result of two search warrants and three firearm prohibition orders being served at two houses.
Police will allege the Rebels have been operating from Temora and into ACT and Sydney.
A larger investigation identified people in Temora having heavy involvement in national dealings.
12.21pm: Video footage of the arrest of a man in Temora during police raids.
10.23am: Police from Strike Force Raptor have begun a search of the Royal Hotel in Hoskins Street, Temora.
The search is one of several currently underway in the region as the elite police squad, which was formed to wipe out gang crime, turns its attention to the Riverina.
10.10am: Police from Strike Force Raptor have handcuffed a Temora man and are taking him to Wagga Police Station after a search warrant was executed on his house.
A series of warrants and firearms searches are underway in the Temora area as part of a widespread operation by police from the elite Sydney unit and Wagga Local Area Command.
UPDATE 10am: Police have brought in a specially trained drug detection dog as part of a series of searches underway in Temora.
Officers from elite police anti gang squad Strike Force Raptor have swooped on several properties, including a home in June Street, Temora, believed to belong to a locally known bikie gang president.
Wagga Local Area Command officers have also been deployed as searches continue throughout the area.
EARLIER: Police from Strike Force Raptor have executed a series of raids on alleged bikie gang members across Junee and Temora this morning.
Search warrants and firearm prohibition orders have been given as police crackdown on crime in the Riverina.
Officers have searched a number of properties where alleged bikie members reside and drug detection dogs have been brought in.
More to come.