Police investigating four bikie-linked murders have discovered guns and a stolen truck during a search of a large rural property, but say they are not items involved in the crimes.
Graham Nixon, 33, Sinibaldo Palombi, 35, and Hubert Western, 32, were shot dead outside the Rebels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) clubrooms in Wright Street in Adelaide in 1999.
Mr Nixon and Mr Palombi died at the scene of the shootout and Mr Western died in hospital five days later.
Two members of the Hells Angels OMCG were arrested, but charges were later withdrawn, due to lack of cooperation from Rebels members.
Police on Tuesday used ground-penetrating radar and an excavator to search a property at Ponde for evidence linked to those deaths and the separate murder of Mark Boyce, 36, in Elizabeth South two years ago.
One man was convicted over Mr Boyce’s death, however police believe two other Hells Angels members were also involved.
The court heard Mr Boyce was repeatedly kicked, punched and stomped on.
His life support was turned off eight days later.
The Hells Angels’ property is known for the Ponde Music Festival, the Ponde Burnouts and the Ponde Sand Drags.
Detective Superintendent Des Bray said the property had been searched by police before, most recently in November, however Tuesday’s operation was far more extensive.
He said police believed the guns used to kill the three men in Wright Street, as well as a Toyota Echo linked to Mr Boyce’s murder, are buried on the 15-hectare property.
“We have a vehicle missing in relation to that investigation and we believe that vehicle may be located buried on this property,” Superintendent Bray said.
While that vehicle has not yet been located, police said they had so far found a stolen tip truck, two firearms “secreted in one of the buildings” and a small amount of ammunition.
However, police said the weapons used in the Wright Street shooting had not yet been found.
“Two firearms, a rifle and a shotgun, have been seized and will be subjected to further forensic testing,” Superintendent Bray said.
“They’re longarms and the weapons we’re looking for for the Rebels [shooting] are pistols … to find buried firearms on a property this size is a mammoth task.
“We have found some plastic tubes with caps which we believe exist for the purpose of burying firearms in the scrub.”
The Australian Federal Police’s National Anti-Gangs Squad Strike Team were also involved in the search, along with SA Police detectives, local police, horses and dogs.
Police said the property had been divided into 11 sectors and would be methodically searched over several days, with guards to remain at the site overnight.
Superintendent Bray said when police arrived this morning, a man had tried to flee the scene.
“He was pursued and apprehended. The reason for him fleeing is yet to be firmly established,” he said.