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Saturday, 28 March 2009

200 arrests frozen more than $10 million in bikie gang assets

200 arrests frozen more than $10 million in bikie gang assets since being formed in late 2007 when the Coffin Cheaters’ Bayswater clubhouse was firebombed by the powerful Sydney-based Comancheros.
“Having read the review, I will be putting together a proposal to the Police Commissioner for Jupiter to be a fixture in the fight against outlaw motorcycle gangs in WA,” Assistant Commissioner Wayne Gregson said. “But I won’t elaborate further because I don’t want to compromise the operational integrity of what we’re doing right now.” Mr Gregson yesterday praised the success of Jupiter but after this week’s bloodshed in NSW and Canberra warned the “bikie scourge” was as potent as ever. “These groups continue to trade in illicit markets and will adapt and change,” he said. “Our focus is to dismantle and disrupt them or stop them from further establishing themselves in WA.” The most notable shift in the WA bikie landscape came last year when members of the South Australian Finks crossed the border to set up shop under an arrangement with ousted Coffin Cheater Troy Mercanti. It was met with a quick response. Shots were fired as part of an ambush while Mercanti and three Finks rode near the Lakes Roadhouse in Wooroloo. One of the four men was hit in the shoulder but the shooter has never been found. Despite Mercanti’s jailing in December for a nightclub assault, the ties between him and the gang appear close. Finks members and associates share a house in Olney Court, Balga, which was bought in July last year by Mercanti’s wife Tammy for $335,000.
A month earlier, a company was registered by Mrs Mercanti and a relative of senior Finks bikie Francesco Condo. Its name — Mercondo Investments — is testament to the union.
The Finks are under threat in South Australia after the State Government took its first steps under tough new legislation to outlaw the gang
. “It is important that we use the most effective law enforcement and legislative powers we can to tackle the gangs head on,” Mr Gregson said. “But in regards to what’s happening in South Australia, these are matters for our Parliament to debate.” Crime confiscation laws in WA have so far provided the best weapon against the bikie networks — seizing assets from drug dealers and tying them up in protracted court cases. “Operation Jupiter has given us an improved picture of the level and structure of criminality within these groups — their businesses and shelf companies,” Mr Gregson said. “We’ll continue to build on that.”

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