Strike Force Raptor: Sawn-off firearm and ammunition found during search of Telarah home of Bandidos associate

CRACKDOWN: The Hunter-based Strike Force Raptor has charged an associate of the Bandidos bikie gang after allegedly locating a sawn-off rifle during a search of a Telarah property as part of the region bikie gang operation.
CRACKDOWN: The Hunter-based Strike Force Raptor has charged an associate of the Bandidos bikie gang after allegedly locating a sawn-off rifle during a search of a Telarah property as part of the region bikie gang operation.

A MAN with close ties to the Bandidos has been charged over a stolen sawn-off rifle allegedly found during a search of a Telarah property by the Hunter’s anti-bikie squad.

Police said officers had issued a 48-year-old man with a firearms prohibition order on Thursday before a search of the property allegedly uncovered the loaded shortened rifle and more ammunition at the Brooks Street address.

The man was taken to Maitland police station where he was charged with possessing an unauthorized firearm, possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing a shortened firearm, possessing ammunition without licence or permit, not keeping a firearm safe storage, and possessing a stolen firearm.

Police will allege the firearm was stolen during a break-in in 2011.

Strike Force Raptor police will allege the man was a close associate with the Bandidos bikie gang.

It came as officers also searched a Barnsley home belonging to the Telarah man’s son, who is also suspected of having links with the Bandidos.

Police allegedly seized a .45 Colt revolver, ammunition, a BB gun, a replica pistol, cannabis and steroids.

The son, 24, was arrested at the location and taken to Belmont police station, where he was charged with possessing an unregistered firearm-pistol, possessing a prohibited drug, and possessing ammunition without licence or permit.

The searches were the latest in almost 30 firearms prohibition orders planned to be handed to bikies and associates as part of a Hunter-wide crackdown on outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Fairfax Media has revealed the Hunter-based squad had already seized at least 18 firearms from registered owners.

It also comes a day after the arrest of high-ranking Finks bikie Adam Luke Gould, who walked into Newcastle police station after being hunted by police investigating a wild brawl between the Finks and Nomads at Wallsend last month.

Mr Gould, 32, was charged with affray and using an offensive weapon after a baseball bat was allegedly used in the Thomas Street melee on December 9.

The brawl erupted after gang members coincidentally arrived at service stations across the road from one another.

At least one Nomads member, 26, needed treatment in John Hunter Hospital for his injuries.

Mr Gould, who was a high-ranking member of the Comanchero, had “patched over” to the Finks before becoming an office bearer with the gang’s Newcastle chapter.

In doing so, he had cut off a tattoo above his right eye which had read ACCA – Always Comanchero Comanchero Always.

Facial tattoos including “Fear None” remain across his cheeks.

Mr Gould was refused bail in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday on the charges.

He will also need to answer to an 18-month good behaviour bond he had received over his participation in a brawl in a Kurri Kurri hotel in 2015.

Police have also handed a court attendance notice to a second Finks member over the Wallsend brawl.

The Cessnock man will face a charge of being in custody of an offensive implement in a public place.

He will face court on February 23.

The Strike Force Raptor crackdown will continue across the Hunter for at least another six weeks.