OMCGs targeted during national Taskforce Morpheus week of action

Australian state and territory police, New Zealand Police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Defence Force, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and Services Australia

With the sole aim of causing maximum disruption to outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) police across the country arrested 159 people, laying 693 charges and seizing 43 firearms and $1M in cash last week as part of a national week of action.

Focussing on enhanced national coordination and collaboration, Taskforce Morpheus is a joint initiative through which all Australian state and territory police, New Zealand Police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Defence Force, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and Services Australia collaboratively target the highest threat outlaw motorcycle gangs impacting Australia.

With their propensity for violence, established transnational serious and organised crime networks and significant footprint in the illicit drug and firearm market, OMCGs are ranked as the largest serious and organised crime cohort impacting Australia and New Zealand.

This year’s week of action ran from 31 July to 6 August.

With a particular focus on drugs, firearms, weapons and explosives, each state and territory proactively targeted their own highest priority issues, with concentrated disruption, enforcement and compliance activity undertaken.

Leveraging shared capability and technology, national Taskforce Morpheus also targets criminal assets and unexplained wealth of key OMCG members, protects vulnerable people and develops national strategies to deter gang recruitment, reduce membership and target recidivism and enablers to organised crime.

Utilising almost 2100 police officers from around the country, the week of action led to:

• 159 arrests

• 693 charges

• The seizure of 43 firearms and 22 weapons

• Seizures of varying drugs in various quantities, and

• Approximately $1M in cash seized and 11 vehicles.

In total, 71 search warrants were executed nation-wide, alongside 252 Firearm Prohibition Order (FPO) compliance searches.

A further 15 FPOs were served.

Key results from the week include:

• In Victoria on 2 August, detectives from Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit seized two rifles, a shotgun, two air rifles, a gel blaster, a silencer, large amounts of various quantities of ammunition, a crossbow and steroids from a Shepparton address.

A 38-year-old Shepparton man, already the subject of a FPO, was charged with prohibited person possess firearm, possess prohibited weapon without exemption, possess cartridge ammunition, possess DOD (prescription), possess silencer, possess imitation firearm, store firearm insecure manner, possess two or more firearms and commit indictable offence on bail.

• An OMCG member from southern Tasmania is facing close to 23 charges, following a targeted operation led by Tasmania Police’s Crime and Intelligence Command. Australian Federal Police and specialist areas of Tasmania Police, including the dog handler unit, assisted in the search of the 56-year-old man’s Derwent Valley property last week.

A traffickable quantity of drugs, two stolen motor vehicles, two illegal replica firearms, cash and a significant amount of stolen property was located.

• On August 4 Australian Border Force and Queensland Police officers executed warrants in Upper Caboolture and Narangba, north of Brisbane, as part of the Taskforce Morpheus Week of Action.

ABF officers seized four firearm silencers, two credit card firearms and one mobile phone.

During the warrants Queensland Police officers located a number of firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition, along with a cypher phone.

A man was arrested by Queensland Police and subsequently bailed to appear at a later date.

• In NSW, the AFP, working with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), executed search warrants on 2 August at the homes of an alleged Hells Angels OMCG chapter president in Parramatta and an alleged Hells Angels OMCG associate in Liverpool.

A 35-year-old Paramatta man was charged with a range of offences, including obtaining financial advantage by deception and conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. The 27-year-old Liverpool man was arrested at his home after police found a pistol and live ammunition on the premises.

He has been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and unauthorised possession of a pistol.

• In South Australia, the AFP, with assistance from South Australia Police, executed search warrants on 3 August as part of an ongoing Operation Ironside investigation into an alleged Comanchero OMCG member, suspected to be involved in the importation of illicit drugs into Australia.

During a search warrant at a Para Hills premises, police officers discovered a sophisticated cannabis grow house.

Police subsequently seized approximately 30 kilograms of dry cannabis, 20 cannabis plants, $6,000 cash and prohibited weapons.

A Para Hills man, 40, was charged with a number of state drug and weapons offences.

• In Western Australia, as part of the week of action, the AFP arrested and charged a Dianella man, 37, and a Doubleview woman, 32, for their alleged roles within a criminal syndicate with suspected links to the Hells Angels.

It is alleged the syndicate attempted to import 850kg of cocaine into Perth back in June 2023.

While executing search warrants at the pair’s respective homes on 3 August, police located about $90,000 cash hidden in a bathroom cupboard of the man’s home.

 Queensland Police Service Gangs and Organised Crime Group have charged 68 people on 144 offences following action targeting OMCG-related offences across the state this week.

Including a joint search warrant with Australian Border Force (ABF) at Caboolture on Friday August 4, where 14 unlawful firearms were located and seized, along with a large quantity of ammunition.

A 32-year-old Upper Caboolture man has been charged with 11 weapons offences and is expected to appear before Caboolture Magistrates Court on August 29.

• In Western Australia, police executed 23 search warrants, made 16 arrests, laid 54 charges and seized one firearm and three weapons.

• New South Wales Police Force arrested 74, laid 243 charges and seized 15 firearms.

Quotes attributable to Detective Superintendent Jason Kelly from the Victoria Police State Anti-Gangs Division:

“Outlaw motorcycle gangs are recognised as having high levels of involvement in illicit drug importation, production and distribution, illicit firearms trafficking and money laundering as well as extreme violent crime.

“To support and facilitate their offending, they are highly territorial and utilise intimidation and violence to exert power and control. This violence can take place in public, exposing members of the community to an unacceptable risk.

“Alongside our partners and with specialist taskforces such as Echo and VIPER, we will continue to use our full range of capabilities to proactively target OMCGs at every opportunity.

“Our message to OMCGs and their facilitators is clear – we are working together, and we will be relentless. We will not stop.”

Current Chair of National Taskforce Morpheus and AFP Crime Command Detective Superintendent Anthony Conway said that Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCGs) posed a significant threat to Australia’s economy, national security and way of life.

“There is no mistaking that OMCGs are violent, organised criminal networks obsessed with obtaining illicit wealth and power at any cost,” he said.

“These criminal gangs believe that they can operate outside of the law in Australia – however, the AFP, together with our state, territory and Commonwealth partners through National Taskforce Morpheus are here to remind them that they cannot.”

Det-Supt Conway said the AFP was proud to work alongside National Taskforce Morpheus across Australia and New Zealand, along with foreign law enforcement partners via the AFP’s wide reaching international network.

“We are dedicated to causing maximum disruption to the transnational serious and organised criminal operations of OMCGs,” said Det-Supt Conway.

“The success of this Week of Action should serve as a fresh warning to OMCG members in Australia and those seeking to hideout offshore. There is nowhere to run, and there is nowhere to hide.”

“The AFP will continue to work with partners both domestically and internationally and remain relentless in our pursuit to disrupt your criminal activities and bring you to justice, whether it is here in Australia or offshore.”

Quotes attributable to Australian Border Force Commander Special Investigations Penny Spies:

“The ABF and our partner agencies maintain a strong focus on disrupting the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“Over the past 12 months numerous joint operations between the ABF and our state and federal partners have dealt significant blows to OMCGs who seek to import illicit goods into Australia.

“The ABF has a highly effective set of tools at its disposal to disrupt OMCGs, including strong provisions under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 that allow the Minister or a delegate to refuse or cancel a visa if the person is considered to not be of good character.

“Any non-citizen with an extensive criminal history and involvement with a criminal organisation, such as an OMCG, can expect to have their Australian visa cancelled and to be removed from our country."

Queensland Police Service (QPS) Organised Crime Gangs Group (OCCG) Detective Superintendent Troy Pukallus said the QPS’ relentless commitment to disrupt organised criminal gangs endangering the community will continue beyond this week of action.

“OMCGs are one of the highest profile manifestations of organised crime. The outcomes from this concentrated effort are a testimony to the QPS’ ongoing dedication to prevent that pervasive harm.” Detective Superintendent Pukallus said.

“Any OMCG member or associate who thinks they can get away with criminal behaviour that puts innocent members of the public at risk, should reflect upon this week’s results and think again – expect OCCG investigators at your door.”

Quotes attributable to Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Specialist Support, Rob Blackwood:

“Tasmania Police works closely with partner agencies to target and disrupt OMCG activities, because we recognise the threat that these gangs present to community safety.

“Strong laws banning consorting and the wearing of OMCG colours were introduced in Tasmania in 2018, and this has been significant in helping us disrupt their effect on the wider community.”

ACIC acting Executive Director Covert Collections and Insights Wendy Darling states that being part of National Task Force Morpheus enables ACIC to deliver mission critical intelligence.

“OMCG violence remains an ever-present threat. The ACIC works diligently with its partners – both domestically and offshore – in a collaborative manner to make Australia hostile to criminal exploitation,” she said.

Quotes attributable to Detective Chief Inspector David Huddy, Crime Gangs Task Force, South Australia Police:

“During this national week of action, SAPol partnered with Commonwealth and State agencies to target OMCG members, associates and their criminal enterprises.

“Numerous arrests were made for acts of violence and drug trafficking. Seizures included a loaded handgun, trafficable amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine and over $100,000 in cash. SAPol will continue to work with agency partners to disrupt, dismantle and disable OMCG networks for safer communities.”

New South Wales Police Force Raptor Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis, said Operation Morpheus is a great example of how Australian law enforcement is collaborating to target OMCGs.

“By coordinating cross-border and cross jurisdictional operations, we enhance our capabilities to disrupt OMCG networks, who we know are not confined to one particular city or state,” Det Supt Koutsoufis said.

“Raptor Squad remain committed to the unrelenting pursuit of OMCGs and will continue to use the suite of powers available to us to protect the community from these criminals and their activities.”

Commencing in September 2014, national Taskforce Morpheus is a working group established under the Serious and Organised Crime Coordination Committee. The taskforce connects commonwealth, state and territory law enforcement agencies to provide a nationally coordinated response to high threat outlaw motorcycle gangs operating across domestic and international borders.

Anyone with information about OMCG activity about is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at