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Sergeant-at-arms Matthew Bruce running criminal syndicate dealing ice, trafficking military rifles and ordering drive-by shootings

There was “nothing” to stop Rebels sergeant-at-arms Matthew Bruce from heading up a criminal syndicate dealing ice, trafficking military rifles and ordering his cronies to do drive-by shootings.

That’s until he was finally arrested in February last year and now faces life imprisonment for his crimes.

“Nothing as it turned out, would stop you other than your arrest,” Victorian County Court Judge Bill Stuart said on Thursday.

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The 37-year-old carried out his “lawless conduct” even when police raided a friend’s house where he stored his cache of weapons including an SKS assault rifle, a “military” bolt action rifle, an Adler shotgun and handguns.

“You could have decided to lay low. You did not,” Judge Stuart said of his crimes.

For three months until his arrest, anti-bikie police watched Bruce, used telephone intercepts and a tracker to uncover his criminal enterprise, the court was told.

He drove a car with the license plate “FEARD” to buy ice, cannabis and weapons or sent his partner to do his bidding.

At one point, he took his infant daughter to the Wombat State Forest and fired the high-powered SKS rifle with a cigarette in his mouth as his then-partner recorded the footage.

He sent a text to his twin sister about trying to sell the weapon: “I need to f—ing sell that f—ing machine gun did that guy want it or not?”.

He also trafficked more than 3.5 kilograms of ice, buying it from an associate and a gang known as “The Syndicate”.

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Bruce also admitted to organising a Valentine’s Day arson attack in 2019 on two cars after an associate in prison requested it.

Two days later, he organised a drive-by shooting at a house in Harkness, setting up two cronies with a hire car and the shotgun used to carry out the attack.

The enforcer pleaded guilty to offences including drug trafficking, possessing a trafficable quantity of unregistered firearms, negligently dealing with the proceeds of crime, arson, attempting to obtain property by deception and discharging a firearm.

The sentencing, which ran for more than three hours, will continue tomorrow.

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