Alleged Comanchero associate sentenced to five years’ jail

Editor’s note: Images of the seized items are available via Hightail.

A Wollongong man has been sentenced to five years’ jail for firearms, drugs and money laundering offences, following an investigation targeting members and associates of the Comanchero Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG).

The alleged Comanchero OMCG associate, 32, was sentenced last week (16 September, 2022) by the Wollongong District Court after earlier pleading guilty to 13 offences over weapons, drugs, and about $300,000 illicit cash that police found at his home last year (2021).

NSW National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) officers arrested the man during an investigation, which started in April 2021 as a result of intelligence gained during the AFP-led Operation IRONSIDE.

Police suspected the man was involved in the supply of firearms and drugs, and dealing in the proceeds of crime, on behalf of the Comanchero OMCG operating in the Wollongong and surrounding areas.

When investigators from NSW NAGS, which is comprised of AFP and NSW Police, conducted a search warrant at the man’s Horsley home in June 2021, they seized firearms, ammunition, drugs, explosives and other prohibited weapons.

Officers also found and seized a number of State police uniform items at the premises, and about $300,000 cash.

Detective Acting Inspector Carly Smith said the joint efforts of agencies in the NSW NAGS continued to result in significant seizures of weapons, drugs and proceeds of crime.

“The AFP and our partners are working hard to protect our communities by creating a hostile environment for OMCGs trying to operate their criminal operations across the country,” Det-A-Insp Smith said.

“This investigation ensured an array of dangerous weapons and drugs were taken out of the hands of criminals.”

The man pleaded guilty on 17 June, 2022 to the following offences:

  • One count of possessing a prohibited firearm, not being authorised to do so by a licence or permit, contrary to section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW);
  • One count of possessing a pistol, not being authorised to do so by a licence or permit, contrary to section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW);
  • One count of handling and possessing explosives, without authorising licence, contrary to section 6(1) of the Explosives Act 2003 (NSW);
  • One count of possessing ammunition for a firearm without holding a licence or permit, contrary to section 65(3) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW);
  • One count of dealing with property reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime totalling AUD$237,422, contrary to section 193C(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW);
  • One count of dealing with property, reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime totalling $55,776, contrary to section 193C(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW);
  • One count of supplying a prohibited firearm, contrary to section 51(2A) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW);
  • One count of supplying a prohibited drug, contrary to section 25(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW);
  • Two counts of possessing prohibited drugs, contrary to section 10(1) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW);
  • Two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon without being authorised to do so by a permit, contrary to section 7(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW); and
  • One count of possessing a police uniform, not being a police officer or a special constable employed under section 81G who wears or possesses a police uniform, contrary to section 203(1) of the Police Act 1990 (NSW).

He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years.

NAGS was established in 2014 as a multi-agency law enforcement taskforce targeting organised criminal syndicates, including those involving members of OMCGs.

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