Cops fear a full-scale war could break out between Australia’s largest gang the Rebels and their bitter rivals the Comanchero after an alleged feud in a notorious bikie ‘royalty’ family.
The powerful Vella family, once a close-knit clan of Maltese-Australian brothers and cousins, is now split by senior Rebel Jess Vella’s recent defection to the Comanchero.
Daily Mail Australia understands the NSW Criminal Groups Squad is on alert for fear of retaliation by disaffected Rebels after the July 15 switch by Jesse, the first member of the Vella family to leave the club.
The rebels have around 2000 members nationally and 70 chapters.
Jesse, 36, was lured over by new Comanchero boss Allan Meehan, who he had become good mates with when Meehan was also a Rebels club member.
The pair remained friends after Meehan’s own defection from the Rebels, when he too was enticed by then Comanchero ‘commander of the world’ Mark Buddle to switch allegiances.
Jesse Vella was at the front of the church with his brother Johnny and cousin Damien Vella in January when burying his father Gino.
Australia’s bikie ‘royalty’, the Vella family, has been torn apart by the defection of Jesse Vella from the Rebels to rival gang the Comanchero, sparking fears of a war of retribution
Jesse Vella (left) with his cousin, Rebels national president Damien Vella (centre) and Jesse’s s brother Johnny Vella (right) looked the picture of club solidarity at the funeral of Jesse and Johnny’s father, Gino in January
Allan Meehan and Gino Vella, who became friends when both were Rebels, are now united as Comanchero after rival club’s new president enticed the Rebels ‘royal family’ member to patch over
Jesse Vella (left) embraces a fellow Rebel at his dad Gino’s funeral six months before leaving the club which has reportedly been less of a ‘family’ after the exile of long term president Alex Vella Sr (right)
The solidarity between the three men was on display at the massive bikie funeral at Our Lady of Victories Church, Horsley Park, before hundreds of mourners for Gino, a senior Rebel and brother of the exiled former president, Alex Vella Snr.
Jesse Vella read a poem in tribute to Gino, who he said had shaped him as a man, and ended it with the club war cry ‘RFFR’ – ‘Rebels Forever, Forever Rebels’.
However, it is understood there had already been tension among the three men which thereafter deepened, and that stresses within the club go back to the banishment of Jesse’s uncle Alex Vella Snr.
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting that members of the extended Vella family in Sydney are involved in the Rebels club or any other bikie gang.
One insider said that Jesse’s switch of allegiances is partly due to a ‘changed culture’ in the club, but that his father Gino would be ‘rolling in his grave’ at the family rift.
Also known as ‘the Maltese Falcon’, he remains stranded in Malta after then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison cancelled his visa on the grounds of ‘bad character’ back in 2014.
Alex’s son Damien Vella, took over as Rebels’ national president, but a club insider told Daily Mail Australia that Damien lacked his father’s charm and their difference in management styles had left more than one member disaffected.
The late Gino Vella (left) and his former national president brother Alex Vella created Australian bikie family ‘royalty’ with their sons as members, but the split with Jesse now makes police fear a gang war could erupt
Jess Vella (centre) delivered a poem to his late father which he ended with the club war cry ‘Rebels Forever, Forever Rebels’, six months before leaving for rivals, the Comanchero
Alex Vella and his son Alex Vella Jr (above) in happier days before the exile of the ‘Maltese Falcon’ by Scott Morrison, Gino Vella’s sudden death and Jesse’s defection
‘The club just isn’t the same as what it was in the old days,’ he said. ‘Some senior members are okay with Jesse leaving, others are not.’
The sudden death of Jesse’s father Gino Vella – who is believed to have had six children – in January means another break-up of the Vella family’s holdings in Horsley Park, the suburb 40km south-west of the Sydney CBD.
Jesse’s grandparents Victoria and Gretzzu, who brought up 11 children in a cave in Malta, bought a strawberry farm at Horsley Park which is still in the family, as are hectares of land.
Before his permanent exile back to the country he was born in, Alex Vella Snr operated as national president of the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Club for four decades from a multi-million dollar property.
The then Rebels chieftan’s two hectare compound was crammed with pristine 20th century Corvettes and dozens of customised Harley Davidsons from the then bikie boss’s collection of 300.
Above the late Gretzzu and Victoria Vella with their 11 children including Alex (circled, right) and Gino (left) acquired large tracts of Horsley Park in western Sydney which will now be divided up
Rebels insiders say Gino Vella (left, his coffin at the funeral) and (right, fishing) would be ‘rolling in his grave’ at the split in the Vella family and the divided bikie club loyalties
Some Rebels members feel the country’s biggest bikie gangs (anove at Gino Vella’s funeral) is not the same anymore under the direction of Damien Vella, who took over when Alex Vella Sr had his Australian visa cancelled
Alex Snr also owned seven rental properties, but his legal expulsion has forced the family to sell up houses and possessions.
Gang squad police have cautioned Vella family members not to resort to violence or confrontation in the wake of Jesse’s club desertion.
Last October, police put Allan Meehan on a warning when he became Commander of the Sydney Chapter of the Comanchero, which is seen as effectively the national president.
Meehan took over from Melbourne-based boss Mick Murray, who was arrested in April over the the 2019 gangland killing of Mitat Rasimi
Former Comanchero president Mark Buddle is currently under extradition order from Turkey, due to be deported back to Australia to face questioning over the 2010 shooting of Armaguard security worker Gary Allibon
Murray had taken over from Mark Buddle, currently under an extradition order from Turkey, who left Australia for the Middle East in 2016 over the 2010 shooting of Armaguard security worker Gary Allibon.
Police concern over gang warfare in Sydney escalated in May after the shooting of Comanchero sergeant-at-arms Tarek Zahed, who escaped with serious injuries, and his brother Omar, who died at the scene.
Jesse Vella’s new role as a senior Comanchero recruit has put him in the sights senior gang squad police.
Criminal Groups Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor, warned last year that Comanchero gang members would continue to be targeted,
This was after Allan Meehan had his home searched, days after posting a photo on Instagram of his club vest with his new title and boasting about about his appointment with the the words, ‘U cant see the eyes of the demon, until him come a callin’.
The Rebels gang has been subject to a bikie group crackdown by police since before Alex Snr’s visa cancellation.
Alex, who held Australian residency for 47 years but not citizenship, later had the revocation confirmed by the Federal Court of Australia ruling unanimously against his re-entering the country.
Police documents filed to the court at the time and obtained by Daily Mail Australia said some members of the Rebels club had been involved in drug dealing, money laundering, serious assaults, kidnapping, extortion, firearms offences, threatening law enforcement officers and intimidating court witnesses.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk