OFF THE WIRE
Police raided the Magog Motorcycle gxxg's New Plymouth headquarters yesterday as part of an operation targeting the Hells Angels.
The Centennial Dr gxxg pad was one of two addresses searched locally while simultaneous warrants were carried out at Auckland properties, including the headquarters of the Hells Angels and other properties linked with the gxxg, by police and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (Ofcanz).
A 56-year-old New Plymouth man, believed to be a member of the Magogs, was arrested and charged with conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
He appeared in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday and was remanded on bail to reappear in the Manukau District Court on November 24.
Nine men, five members of the Hells Angels and four associates were arrested and six firearms were seized in the Auckland raids.
The men have been charged with intentional damage, commission of a crime while in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm except for some lawful, proper and sufficient purpose.
The charges relate to alleged illegal hunting activities, without permits and without firearms licences over the past year.
Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward of New Plymouth said 16 officers, including two from Ofcanz, were involved in the raids.
Mr Coward said the charge the New Plymouth man faced was not connected to the charges in Auckland.
"The offending relating to the New Plymouth man is isolated from the illegal hunting."
Police believed there was a link between the gxxgs, but Mr Coward wouldn't elaborate.
"We would be naive in thinking there wasn't," he said.
No drugs or firearms were found in New Plymouth.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, of Ofcanz said it was hoped the operation would disrupt a wide range of criminal activities the Hells Angels were involved in.
"A number of Hells Angels gang members from around New Zealand have been prosecuted or are now on active charges ranging from possession and supply of methamphetamine to robbery, burglary and extortion," he said.
"We have made arrests in Auckland, Napier, Tauranga and Nelson, where an undercover operation early this year put an end to offshoot gxxg the Red Devils.
"Our goal is to investigate the crimes they are committing and disrupt their activities to the extent that it's very hard for them to operate at all."