Australian anti-gangs squad makes over 1,000 arrests


CANBERRA, Sept. 28 -- Australia's National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) has made more than 1,000 arrests since it was announced in 2013.

Michael Keenan, Australia's justice minister, on Thursday announced that NAGS has made 1,068 arrests, resulting in 3,365 charges related to organized crimes.

The squad makes federal law enforcement, in particular, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), available to state law enforcement in an effort to combat gang-related crime with a focus on motorcycle gangs.

"We've been incredibly successful at doing that," Keenan told reporters.

"Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) leaders are being driven from Australian streets as they feel the pressure exerted by law enforcement," Keenan said.

"These gangs are violent criminals who strike fear in the community, both with their presence, and with the flow-on effects of the illicit drug trade they oversee."

In the process of making the arrest, NAGS officers have seized 7.2 million U.S. dollars in cash, 5,700 illegal firearms and more than 170 kilograms of methamphetamine.

"We've worked very diligently to tear down these gangs. We've seized guns, cash, cars, motorcycles and exotic animals," Keenan said.

Authorities have reported an increase in OMGC leaders fleeing overseas where they then try to control their syndicates in Australia from abroad.

"But the AFP-led NAGS is addressing this overseas risk, by sharing with foreign law enforcement agencies the successful disruption activities that have been used in Australia," Keenan said.

"This will help our partners counter the threat of expanding OMCG activity in their country. Through the AFP's international network, the work of the NAGS will extend beyond borders and help disrupt OMCG activity on a global scale." (Xinhua)