Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Police seize assets from Comanchero MC

Auckland, New Zealand (April 11, 2019) BTN — Police have seized $3.7 million in assets in a major operation across Auckland targeting a high-profile motorcycle club. Police said in a statement a year-long investigation into the activities of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club has concluded, as a number of search warrants were earlier executed.

It's understood New Zealand criminals deported from Australia were setting up a chapter here. "More than 80 police staff, including special groups such as the Armed Offenders Squad, dog section and specialist search group have been executing search warrants at seven properties throughout the Auckland region this morning," a statement from police says.

A number of people have been arrested, including "senior members and associates of the Comanchero motorcycle club," the statement says. About $3.7 million in assets have been seized, including two residential properties and several high end vehicles, including a number of Range Rovers, a Rolls Royce and two Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Motorcycle Clubs  use expensive items to "market themselves" national manager of the financial crime group Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman says. "We are determined to strip them of that wealth that we allege has come from criminal offending and take the profit out of it," he says.

A photo posted to the Facebook page "Gangs of New Zealand" in December 2017 showed five men, two of whom were wearing Comanchero paraphernalia, along with the caption:

"Comanchero New Zealand. Making moves here in Aotearoa. Respect." Chris Cahill, president of the Police Association, said at the time it's "no surprise" we may be seeing a rise in Comanchero and affiliated gangsters. "Some of these gangs are very experienced. They have international links and that's adding to the level of concern we have in gangs around New Zealand."

He says one of the major concerns with gang activity moving over from Australia is that as we are a small country, they are likely to quickly clash with other gangs as they compete for turf.

SOURCE: News Hub

Hells Angels MC still fighting for their clubhouse

Nanaimo, BC, Canada (April 10, 2019) BTN — A lawyer for the Hells Angels suggested Tuesday that a civil-forfeiture case against the motorcycle club was motivated by a desire by the RCMP to get “bad guys,” and had nothing to do with concerns about the club’s Nanaimo property.

The comments were made by lawyer Joseph Arvay during the second day of his questioning of Phil Tawtel, the executive director of the provincial civil-forfeiture office. Arvay was asking Tawtel about a referral document in which the RCMP recommended in 2007 that the Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo should be targeted for civil forfeiture.

A lawyer for the director objected to Arvay’s questioning based on the document and the witness was asked to leave the courtroom while the lawyers argued the matter. Arvay told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies that he was going to ask the court to draw the inference that from the police perspective at least, the RCMP referral was much more about simply going after the motorcycle club than any real concern about the property.

He accused the director of looking for “whatever hooks” are available in the applicable legislation to go after the property.

Arvay said that although the RCMP referred to a possible beating in the clubhouse and the discovery of some guns inside the premises, the major basis for the referral was that the clubhouse was a “booze can” and operating without a liquor licence. “That was the hook,” he told the judge. “But the fundamental reason for recommending this civil forfeiture is: These are bad guys, you should go after them.”

Brent Olthuis, a lawyer for the director, objected to the questioning on the basis that it was calling for hearsay from a witness on the motivation of the RCMP as the referring agency. “I say you can’t do that. You simply cannot do that,” Olthuis said.

Olthuis also objected to the questioning on the basis that it was not relevant to the issues in the case. But the judge said that in “general terms” he agreed with Arvay and noted that in canvassing the constitutional issues being raised in the case, he needed a “full factual matrix” to make a final decision. “The director has opined that the Hells Angels are a worldwide organization with criminal purposes and that the clubhouses act to facilitate that role,” said the judge.

“To deny the defendants the right to examine the basis upon which these proceedings were commenced, and the interaction between the RCMP and the director, would render the constitutional question something to be decided in a factual vacuum. That will not occur.” The judge said that he agreed it might be difficult to determine the motivation of the RCMP, but added that what was relevant in the case was the actions taken by the director in response to the RCMP referral.

The long-running case saw the civil-forfeiture office launch its lawsuit seeking forfeiture of the Nanaimo clubhouse in 2007. The director alleges the clubhouse is an “instrument of unlawful activity” and that it’s an asset that should be forfeited to the government.

In 2012, the office filed another lawsuit seeking the forfeiture of two more Hells Angels clubhouses — in Vancouver and Kelowna.

The trial is expected to continue Wednesday.

SOURCE: Times Colonist 

Pagan's MC leader sentenced in meth bust

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA (April 10, 2019) BTN — A Port Orange man who was a leader of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Cub was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in federal prison for his role in a meth distribution conspiracy, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Brian “Sledge” Burt, 47, pleaded guilty on Jan. 16 to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando. Burt was a member of the Pagan’s Mother Chapter, a group of 13 that directed the Pagan’s criminal activities throughout the United States and conspired with different drug trafficking groups to distribute methamphetamine in and around Daytona Beach, officials said in an emailed statement.

Related | Pagan's MC dope supplier found guilty
Related | Two Pagan's MC members plead guilty

Burt was the first biker sentenced. Another Pagan indicted in the case, Michael “Clutch” Andrews, 33, of Palm Coast, has also pleaded guilty. Andrew “Yeti” Shettler, 33, of Palm Coast, was also indicted and identified as a member of the Thunderguards Motorcycle Club, which is affiliated with the Pagan’s, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Shettler has also pleaded guilty.

The FBI, which was later joined by the Drug Enforcement Administration, began an investigation in April 2017 into drug trafficking groups that had supplied motorcycle clubs, including the Pagan’s, in Central Florida, with distribution amounts of methamphetamine, the release said.

So far, 19 individuals in all have been found guilty as a result of this joint investigation. “This case exemplifies the cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle dangerous criminal organizations that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI will continue to target the leadership of these organizations and bring them to justice for the harm caused by their criminal actions.”

SOURCE: The Daytona Beech News-Journal 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Cop suspended for assaulting club member

Quebec, Canada (April 8, 2019) BTN — A Sûreté du Québec officer has been suspended for 60 days without pay for assaulting a member of the Rock Machine Motorcycle Club while the latter was in custody in 2014.

The sanction against Bruno Landry was issued by the Quebec Police Ethics Committee last week and follows Landry’s conviction for assault in connection with the same incident in Quebec Court in 2016. However, the police officer’s guilty plea was followed by an unconditional discharge, meaning Landry would not have a criminal record.

In October 2014, Landry was called in as backup in the arrest of Jean-François Émard, a member of the Rock Machine, on suspicion of possession of drugs. After Émard had been placed in a cell, Landry’s colleague asked him three times to accompany him to question the suspect. Landry finally agreed, and the officers said they were subjected to string of insults and provocations from Émard during the process.

Landry began to leave the cell but the insults continued and, finally, the officer turned around and struck the suspect. The ethics committee heard that after the fight had been broken up, Landry felt tremendous remorse and realized he had made a mistake. He was suspended from duty by the SQ days later.

Landry sought therapy to control his emotions and, during his absence from the force, went to university to study cybersecurity and did volunteer work. When he was returned to duty, Landry worked in administrative roles at the SQ’s highway patrol section.

After his guilty plea in Quebec Court, Landry had to face the SQ’s internal disciplinary committee in 2017. After hearing the facts of the case, including details of the stress that Landry was dealing with in his personal life at the time of the incident, the disciplinary committee decided Landry should be suspended for 85 days rather than dismissed from the force, as called for by the nature of the offence.

Finally, the police ethics committee heard the case and, considering a joint recommendation from the defence and the prosecution, buttressed by Landry’s reiteration of his remorse and avowals of confidence in the officer from his superiors, ruled he should be suspended for 60 days.

SOURCE: Montreal Gazette