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Police are bracing for “extreme violence” after the release from jail of former Coffin Cheater turned Finks bikie Troy Mercanti.

Assistant Police Commissioner Nick Anticich said officers were on high alert after Mercanti walked free from Casuarina Prison more than 2½ years after being jailed for causing grievous bodily harm in a bar room brawl in Northbridge.

Within hours of his release, Mercanti took a Jetstar flight to South Australia where he was met by at least six Adelaide Finks. They were watched by Australian Federal Police officers.

Detectives from the Crime Gangs Task Force pulled over some of the gang members as they left the Adelaide Airport carpark. Adelaide has the biggest contingent of Finks bikie members in Australia.

Mercanti made himself a target for the Coffin Cheaters by defecting to the rival Finks gang just months after he was booted out of his old club in early 2008.

Within months of joining the Finks, he was shot at by an unknown sniper while motorcycle riding with two Finks in Wooroloo.

The sniper missed Mercanti but one of his companions was hit and Mercanti crashed his machine.

On his release yesterday, Mercanti was warmly greeted by up to a dozen Finks who drove in a convoy back to his Duncraig home.

Mr Anticich said police believed his release could spark further violence between the bikie gangs, who clashed in October in a bloody brawl at the Kwinana Motorplex.

Several Finks were beaten with baseball bats and one had fingers severed. “Obviously there is a bit of history between Mr Mercanti and members of outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Mr Anticich said.

“The fact he has been released from prison puts him at risk. But we take the view that potentially he is at risk of being a victim but is also potentially a perpetrator.

“The conflict and potential for extreme violence is our major concern.”
Mr Anticich said police were well prepared to respond to any bloodshed between the gangs.

“We’ve got a good read through our intelligence sources of what is going on,” he said. “We’ve put things in place to monitor and hopefully prevent any violence.”

“We’re going to do that the best we can within the limitations of the law. Our primary intention is to prevent violence from occurring rather than having to react to that. But the hope is that whatever that conflict may have been, that with the passage of time it may have come back to a state of peace.”

Mr Anticich said police would monitor Mercanti to ensure that he did not breach a prohibition order that bans him from entering licensed premises in WA.

Mercanti was last year banned for five years, with police citing his 31 criminal offences and several unprovoked bashings as justification for the prohibition order.

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