Bikies moving to QLD as borders re-open
BIKIES are moving into Queensland and New South Wales in preparation for state borders to re-open as the price of some illicit drugs doubles during the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian Federal Police say.
In one case, a Mongols gang member flew to Queensland from Victoria last Thursday and police say similar movements have been observed between NSW and Victoria.
Police believe there will be an increase in the movement of drugs, money and possibly firearms as Queensland opens its borders tomorrow.
AFP Acting Commander Todd Hunter said bikies had tried to adapt during the pandemic including an increase in counter-surveillance and using the mail to distribute drugs.
"The closing of international and state borders and the restricted movement within states has led to a scarcity of high-demand drugs, particularly methamphetamine and cocaine but it has not stopped organised crime syndicates such as outlaw motorcycle gangs from continuing their criminal offending," he said.
"In some regions, the closing of domestic and international airports has led to a doubling of the street price of such drugs."
Queensland's border will be open to every state but Victoria tomorrow from midday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned there would be delays at the border because Queensland wanted to "get it right".
Police were monitoring the domestic movements of the bikies including the patched Mongols member who came to Queensland from Victoria last week.
"With the opening of the NSW-QLD border it is anticipated there will be an increase in the movement of border controlled drugs due to these shortages in the marketplace," Commander Hunter said.
"There is also likely to be an increase in the movement of money and possibly firearms as offenders attempt to return to their criminal offending.
"Criminal syndicates operating between the QLD-NSW border are likely to attempt to reactivate previous criminal enterprises".
There would also be an increase in demand for drugs as travel restrictions ease and people returned to night clubs and entertainment districts, Commander Hunter said.
"It is anticipated OMCG members will attempt to profit from this increase," he said.
"Recent developments in Victoria with borders being closed due to COVID-19 will continue to hamper some of this travel and Queensland Police will maintain a presence on the border as travel from Victoria remains regulated."
Commander Hunter said that during the pandemic AFP investigators had observed the efforts outlaw motorcycle gang members had made to adapt to the environment which included increased counter-surveillance measures and "being extra vigilant in their movements and tactics to avoid law enforcement attention".
"The AFP and partners have noted an increase in the use of the mail system one such means for distributing drugs during this time," he said.
Commander Hunter said police were also monitoring a small number of OMCG members and persons of interest with long-term links to OMCGs had returned to Australia after basing themselves overseas for a number of years.
They had moved back due to Australia's stability and management of the pandemic.
Two men were yesterday charged after being found with drugs as they crossed the border from Victoria into NSW.
Police found GHB, steroids, two knives, meth, buprenorphine, mobile phones and $4065.
A man from South Gladstone was charged with supplying a prohibited drug and dealing with property proceeds of crime.
The men were not believed to be OMCG members.
Originally published as Bikies moving to QLD as borders re-open