A high-ranking member of the Nomads bikie gang has been charged over allegations he ran drug runs down the highway from Sydney into Canberra in an effort to re-establish himself in the ACT market.
Michael Clark, a man police believe was once the gang's national president, was arrested Wednesday in connection with Operation Ironside, a massive international police effort in which the FBI gained access to an encrypted messaging app later adopted by hundreds of criminals while the AFP monitored their every word and saw illegal plans hatched in real-time.
Backed by intelligence gleaned from Ironside, detectives from ACT Policing's anti-gang unit Taskforce Nemesis raided Mr Clark's home in Kingston this week and allegedly uncovered drugs and phones with the police-monitored encrypted messaging app An0m.
Mr Clark, already on bail accused of other serious alleged offences, was arrested in Queanbeyan on Wednesday when he went to report to police in line with bail conditions.
The 35-year-old, still a senior member of the Nomads, appeared in the Cooma local court on Thursday where he did not apply for bail. He did not enter pleas.
In a press conference on Thursday, Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow, the NSW Criminal Groups Squad Commander, said this week's raid and arrest was the "real world effect" of Ironside.
Police will allege Mr Clark ran drug runs from Sydney to Canberra, buying commercial amounts of drugs from manufacturers in south-western Sydney before having them ferried up the highway to Canberra.
Police will also allege Mr Clark was offering "highly dangerous criminal weapons" for sale, including a shortened .22 rifle, a silenced .22 rifle, and a semi-automatic shotgun capable of firing seven rounds in two seconds.
"It is further alleged that this gentleman at one stage held very high office with the Nomads, possibly the national president of that gang and in recent times, due to police attention, may have lost some of those rights and ranks, but is also now what we are instructed, is re-establishing himself as a high-level offender in the outlaw motorcycle gang space," Commander Critchlow said.
It's alleged police caught one drug runner on the Federal Highway in May with several ounces of cocaine for supply to market in Canberra.
Police allege that during the raid on Mr Clark's Kingston home they found a number of encrypted phones used to speak "openly and frankly" to plan the drug runs and gun sales. He was under strict bail conditions not to have an encrypted device.
Commander Critchlow said the Canberra community had suffered from Mr Clark's alleged illicit activities for a long time, and that the ACT's Taskforce Nemesis had been working on the case for three years non-stop.
"I would suggest that with yesterday's arrest, and hopefully with today's successful court result, the Nomads will have no more role to play in Canberra," he said.
Mr Clark was charged with drug supply, conspiracy to commit drug supply, supplying prohibited firearms and participating in a criminal group.
He is next due in court in Liverpool in August.
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