Ailing Mick Murray to stand down as Comanchero MC boss.
The ailing health of a bikie leader has sparked a power grab within Victoria’s most dangerous club. A model turned bikie and interstate bosses are now eyeing moves to take charge, with the power vacuum leading to a new force in Melbourne’s underworld.
Comanchero boss Mick Murray is set to step aside and spark a power grab for control of the motorcycle club.
A battle for leadership of the club is looming with the current national president believed to be on “borrowed time” because of health concerns.
Murray, who led the club for most of the 2010s, is understood to be looking at stepping back from leadership duties.
It has been implicated in numerous murders, attempted murders, drive-by shootings and drug trafficking in Melbourne.
Model turned bikie Hasan Topal is one contender to take over the top job from Murray and has taken charge when the president has been unavailable previously.
Topal has spent extended periods overseas since last year, mostly in Turkey and Greece.
One theory is that an arrangement is in place under which Topal would return to Australia to take the presidential role from Murray.
The source likened it to the Kiribilli agreement under which Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke was to step aside for his rival Paul Keating to take the reins.
That deal ended in acrimony but the source quipped that the Comanchero plan had more chance of success because the outfit was less ruthless than the ALP.
It is unclear whether others covet the top job.
There are suggestions Topal has concerns about returning to Melbourne anytime soon.
He fears he might be arrested in connection with a major drug importation plot and is said to be concerned he might be a target for organised crime figures.
Murray — for years a target of the anti-bikie Echo taskforce — has had a number of health problems in recent years and is keen for a change.
But his long-term plans to retire overseas, to Asia or the Middle East, have been scuppered with immigration authorities in other countries said to be deeply unimpressed with his OMC history.
Thai authorities blocked him from entering the country for a holiday while on bail last year.
Sources have told the Herald Sun Murray is “on borrowed time” and a changing of the guard is expected soon.
Murray’s health has been an issue for some time.
A 2017 court hearing was told his abuse of steroids meant his luteinising hormone was not operating.
The same proceeding also heard Murray was battling glaucoma, a serious eye condition.
Sources say his eyesight has continued to deteriorate since then.
It is understood NSW-based Comanchero MC members are eyeing up a move to take control of Victorian operations, with uncertainty grappling the club’s leadership in Melbourne.
Such a move could be passive or aggressive.
LIFE AND CRIMES: THE BADDEST BIKIE CLUB
Meanwhile, there has been growing internal instability.
Underworld sources say Topal’s fortunes took a hit last year when Echo taskforce detectives arrested a group of Comancheros and associates over drug-dealing and shooting offences.
One of those men is believed to be a key ally of Topal, who is said to fear arrest over the same operation.
Murray and Topal were also closely involved with feared Middle-Eastern organised crime figure Nabil Maghnie but he was murdered at Epping last month.
Two Comancheros have been charged over the murder of convicted drug dealer Mitat Rasimi at Dandenong in March last year.
Some elements of the OMC and their associates came under heavy scrutiny from the Sector taskforce, which investigated the Rasimi killing and the double-fatal drive-by shooting at the Love Machine nightclub last April.
Topal’s relationship with the NSW members is also in doubt.
He was jailed over a brawl at a Canberra strip club in brutal scenes later described as being a Victoria-NSW dispute.
At the time of the Canberra fight, the Herald Sun was told tensions were escalating between the NSW and Victorian factions of the club.
Senior Sergeant Paul Topham, speaking in 2018 when he was investigating the club on the Echo taskforce, said: “Basically two members have had a falling out with Mick Murray and have been specifically targeted.
“It appears to be a feud between the Mick Murray and (former Melbourne boss) Jay Malkoun-aligned members.
“That feud goes across states when you have Mick Murray-aligned members in Victoria and Jay Malkoun-aligned members in NSW.
“Which is what we believe the Canberra fight was about.”
Dozens of members of the club came to blows inside the Capital Men’s Club in Canberra on August 20, 2017, when a brawl broke out about 3am.
About 100 members had come from across the country and met in the capital for the club’s 2017 memorial run.
Topal had a leading role in the brawl – his aggression impressed some factions whilst infuriating others.
At one point during the wild fight, he smashed a glass onto his own forehead.
The attempted murder of Murray’s former right-hand man Robert Ale at a Hampton Park tattoo parlour in February 2018 was also the result of an internal power play within the club.
He was lucky to survive when a hit team sprayed him with bullets inside the Nitro business. The shooting is unsolved.
Ale has since been jailed for 18 years for running a violent criminal enterprise involving attempted hits, drive-by shootings, drug trafficking and arson.
As head of the street club The Last Kings, a brutal subgroup of the Comancheros, Ale ordered his underlings to commit assaults, arsons and aggravated burglaries.
Toby Mitchell is now calling the shots for the Mongols. Picture: AAPToby Mitchell is now calling the shots for the Mongols. Picture: AAP
From October 2016 to March 2017, under the watchful eye of the Echo taskforce detectives, he trafficked 5.5kg of methylamphetamine, collecting $1.2 million cash, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars for cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy, and cannabis.
The Last Kings was established to do the dirty work of the Comancheros so it didn’t fall back on the outlaw motorcycle club.
For the past decade, the Comancheros have eaten up the most police resources when it comes to OMC crime in Victoria.
But the club is divided and the Finks and Mongols – now with former Bandido enforcer Toby Mitchell running the show – have spotted an opening.
Police are waiting to see how the split within the Comancheros plays out and are prepared for more violence.
But once the dust settles and a new leader is installed the Comancheros will no doubt set their sights on reasserting their top-dog status in Melbourne.
And with the Mongols growing in strength, the internal violence within the Comancheros would pale in comparison to a war between clubs.