Eastern European authorities have arrested two New Zealanders accused of being involved in a global Hells Angels cocaine and methamphetamine drug trafficking ring.
Michael Matthews Murray and Marc Patrick Johnson were detained, along with the leader of the Hells Angels Bucharest motorcycle club, in the Romanian capital after raids on eight properties last week, according to the country’s organised crime and terrorism agency, DIICOT. They face charges of cocaine trafficking.
It says members of the criminal organisation obtained and distributed drugs “for the benefit of several known organised crime groups operating in the United States, the European Union and New Zealand”.
The New Zealanders were arrested “immediately after negotiating the payment of a quantity of cocaine, what was to be transmitted to New Zealand”.
Twelve motorcycles and two luxury cars were seized during the raids, along with US$200,000, a “lethal weapon”, and 100 grams of cocaine.
The arrests came after US authorities submitted a request for legal assistance to conduct an investigation into an organised crime group responsible for obtaining “significant amounts” of cocaine and meth in America and distributing these in the European Union and New Zealand.
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DIICOT says the group leaders discussed purchasing these drugs through intermediaries, with negotiations and transactions taking place in Romania.
“During the negotiations, the Romanian representatives of the organised group also requested a quantity of drugs from the suppliers and discussed the possibility of assassinating a member of a rival group,” it said.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled Murray and Johnson will be remanded in custody for 30 days, and next month it will rule on an extradition request made by US authorities.