'Ringleader' of alleged WA drug operation faces money laundering charges
Advertisement

'Ringleader' of alleged WA drug operation faces money laundering charges

A man accused of being the "ringleader" in a major drug trafficking operation in WA's Mid West and Pilbara regions now also faces money laundering charges after allegedly using a gym membership system to funnel drug money into a TAB account.

Donald Collard, 43, is the president of suspected organised crime group Naala Moort and faces 97 charges related to the sale of methamphetamine to an undercover WA Police operative, as well as allegedly using gym memberships as a front for money laundering.

The Midland Naala Moort clubhouse was raided by police in February.

The Midland Naala Moort clubhouse was raided by police in February.

Mr Collard was arrested in February after an eight-month WA Police investigation into the movement of drugs in the state's Mid West, with a warrant executed as a result of inquiries by Carnarvon detectives earlier this year.

Police said they found 112 grams of methamphetamine at the Naala Moort clubhouse in Midland and Mr Collard was arrested along with another man.

Advertisement

The men were charged with three counts of sold or supplied or offered to sell or supply a trafficable quantity of methamphetamine, one count of selling a prohibited drug, and one count of conspiracy to sell or supply a prohibited drug.

Further police investigations led to Mr Collard also being charged with 90 counts of directly or indirectly engaging in a transaction that involved any money or other property.

Two Naala Moort gang members have been charged with drug offences.

Two Naala Moort gang members have been charged with drug offences.

It is alleged Mr Collard used a gym membership system to funnel supposed drug money into his TAB account and several other linked accounts.

Mr Collard appeared in Perth Magistrates Court via video link from Casuarina Prison on Wednesday, and his lawyer argued his case for bail, claiming he should be allowed to access his financial records as a number of the charges were related to his finances.

But the state prosecutor said there was no need for Mr Collard to access the records himself. The prosecutor also argued the seriousness of the offences levelled at Mr Collard meant he should not be released on bail, and referenced his group's alleged connections with the Comancheros, Brothers in Arms and Rebels motorcycle gangs as a cause for concern.

The magistrate refused Mr Collard's bail application and said the court would allow his defense counsel and prison authorities adequate time to access his financial records prior to a committal hearing set for September 13.

At a press conference earlier this year, Mid West-Gascoyne region district superintendent Mike Bell said he expected more Naala Moort members to be charged as a result of the investigation.

Hannah Barry is a Fairfax Media journalist based in Western Australia, focused on breaking news.