POLICE have thrown everything they have at the Hunter bikie war with hundreds of officers deployed as part of sweeping dawn raids on Thursday morning.
Detectives revealed 13 members and associates of the Finks and Nomads bikie gangs were arrested after strike force investigators raided 31 properties in the Lower Hunter.
All of alleged those gang members are expected to be charged with participating in a criminal group.
Northern Region operations manager Detective Superintendent Wayne Humphrey told reporters 280 police officers had been deployed as part of the crackdown.
He said items including prohibited weapons, firearms parts, drugs, unauthorised reptiles and “a large number” of other items were seized as part of the raids.
The alleged gang members are being questioned in several Hunter police stations, with search warrants executed across the Lower Hunter – from Muswellbrook to Maitland.
The raids come at a flash point for relations between the gangs with recent hostilities boiling over into a number of drive-by shootings with the use of “military-grade” bullets, including one where a man was shot in the leg and the home of a jailed Finks bikie boss shot up while his wife and child were inside.
Police pushed back and are currently fighting in the NSW Supreme Court to severely restrict the movements of a number of Nomads bikies using a Serious Crime Prevention Order.
It is the first time such an order has been made in the history of NSW.
Police have also shutdown two clubhouses, including the Nomads Newcastle City chapter headquarters at Chin Chen Street in Islington. The Nomads’ Muswellbrook clubhouse has also been declared a “restricted premises” by the Supreme Court.
Gangs squad commander Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace said police had been “relentless” in stopping the violence.
“Are they getting tired of doing it? It doesn’t appear so and neither are we,” Detective Superintendent Wallace said.
“We’ll be relentless in our pursuit of stopping and oppressing this activity … not only is the conflict between Nomads and Finks but it is now impacting on community members and family members. Innocent people are now getting caught up in this.”
Ms Wallace said the anti-bikie squad Strike Force Raptor would remain in the Hunter.
“We will stay here until they decide to stop these acts of violence … we don’t leave,” she said.
Detective Superintendent Humphrey said police believed they had “diminished” the activity of Hunter bikie gangs.
“But that doesn’t mean we’ll diminish our activity,” he said.