Bikies arrested in police drug raids
By Alex Easton
A MAJOR Northern Rivers bikie drug ring has been smashed in a series of dramatic raids here and in Sydney, police say.
Seven men, including some alleged to be senior members of the Lone Wolf bikie gang, were arrested in raids involving more than 100 police officers in Sydney, Lismore and Bungawalbin.
Police stormed buildings linked to the gang in simultaneous raids at 7 o'clock yesterday morning. They included an alleged fortified drug house at Uralba Street, Lismore, the alleged Lone Wolf gang's clubhouse at Terania St, and a property at Bungawalbin, seizing drugs, weapons and cash.
Police launched the raid on the alleged drug house by tearing steel gates from the entry to the house.
Three men, Phillip Wheatley, 47 of Lismore, Richard Harold Monckton, 46 of Bungawalbin, and Jason Haseldon, 34 of Lismore, were arrested in the local raids.
Mr Monckton and Mr Haseldon appeared at Lismore Local Court yesterday, charged with drug offences, and neither applied for bail.
Mr Monckton was remanded in custody to appear again on Monday, when a bail application may be made. Haseldon was remanded in custody to appear again on October 2.
Wheatley was expected to appear at the court this morning.
Monckton is accused of having possessed and supplied nearly 12,700 ecstasy pills and 333.8 grams of methylamphetamine since March this year and of taking part in a criminal group with three other men.
Haseldon faces six counts of supplying drugs, two of possession, one of having property believed to be the proceeds of crime and one of allowing his home to be used as a drug house.
Richmond Local Area Commander Superintendent Bruce Lyons said police found drugs and weapons at each of the three local properties. They included a pistol, rifles, nunchaku, and a stun gun. The raids in Sydney yielded knives and a sword.
Police allege Lone Wolf members in Sydney manufactured the drugs before shipping them to Lismore for distribution. Supt Lyons conceded police had long been aware of the alleged drug house, but chose to investigate more deeply before moving against it.
Operation Tungarra involved about 14 months of investigation before yesterday's raids.
Those raids came as part of the state-wide Operation Ranmore, which began in May targetting all outlaw motorcycle gangs.
During the past week that operation led to raids and arrests at Batemans Bay, and Petersham and Guilford in Sydney.
Supt Lyons said the raids would cripple the region's ecstasy and amphetamine markets.
"Any persons wishing to buy those drugs won't be able to because the Lone Wolves were dominant in the supply of ecstasy and amphetamines," he said.
Supt Lyons said police were continuing to investigate outlaw motorcycle gangs, but declined to say which gang was next on detectives' list.
The 14-month operation and yesterday's raids and arrests in Sydney and on the Northern Rivers all stemmed from information given to police by one member of the public.
Supt Lyons urged anyone with suspicions about drug dealing to contact police through their local police station or through Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.