The Comancheros are Australia’s most technologically savvy motorcycle gang, who have carved out a prominent place in the criminal underworld by controlling the importation and distribution of drugs.
The bikie gang, which was founded in April 1966 on the NSW Central Coast, are known to selectively recruit members such as military trained snipers and were the first to use encrypted phones to communicate, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Comancheros are a growing threat and are said to have moved their leadership offshore to avoid law enforcement.
The gang’s former national leader Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi was gunned down outside of a Fitness First gym in south Sydney on Thursday in broad daylight.
Paramedics and police tried to save the father-of-two as the suspected gunman leapt into a getaway car, sparking fears of a resurgence in violent street gang wars.
Police are hunting two masked assassins caught on CCTV after the shooting after the suspected getaway car – a luxury silver Mercedes – was set on fire and dumped on a nearby street.
Hawi has been a key figure in the criminal underworld since joining the Comancheros at the age of 18.
The 37-year-old father-of-two is believed to have recently had a ‘blow up’ with rival Mark Buddle, 32, who appointed himself president of the outlaw motorcycle club after Hawi was arrested for the murder of a Hells Angels associate in 2009.
Buddle is believed by police to be living in Europe.
Buddle, 32, who fled Australia in 2010 after a security guard was fatally shot, reportedly clashed with Hawi six weeks ago, leaving tensions high between the two bikie powerbrokers.
The Comancheros made headlines in 1984 after a clash between the gang and their rivals, the Bandidos, killed seven people – including a 15-year-old innocent girl – and injured 23 others.
The ‘Milperra Massacre’ remains the world’s worst ever outbreak of bikie violence and resulted in 43 men being charged with murder.
The founder of bikie gang the Comancheros, William George ‘Jock’ Ross, has since insisted he expected ‘nothing’ would happen that day, despite leading his heavily armed men to meet their arch rivals.
‘We came to be seen, not to fight. We were armed only for defence,’ Ross told 60 Minutes in 2014.
‘[The Bandidos] attacked us, they had the choice. We didn’t have the choice. What was I meant to do, put my arms in the air and be cut to bits?’
Ross received a life sentence but served only 5 years 3 months, as his murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter and his sentence was shortened due to good behaviour.
Strike Force Raptor Detective Chief Inspector David Adney told The Daily Telegraph last year the Comancheros are unique because they control both the importation and distribution of drugs.
Gangs typically oversee one or the other, the publication said.
Friction between Comanchero members in Sydney and its Central Coast chapter has grown over the years, police officials said.
The Central Coast chapter is mostly made up of older Caucasian men, but members in the city are more likely to have Middle Eastern or Islander heritage.
‘It’s like visiting the in-laws. You don’t want to do it, but the boss says you have to,’ a Sydney member told police after being stopped on a highway heading to the Central Coast headquarters, according to the publication.