The Bandido Motorcycle Club is a gang that started in Texas 50 years ago with a worldwide membership of around 5,000.

With its signature armed Mexican bandit logo and disconcerting motto "we are the people your parents warned you about" the gang now has a growing presence in New Zealand with at least six chapters across the country.

Today police revealed details of a seven month operation that netted a $17m methamphetamine bust involving a member of the Thailand chapter of the Bandidos motor cycle gang.

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Drug bust: $17m of meth seized following an Auckland police investigation


Three men are now facing importation, supply and money laundering charges.

On top of the 17 kg of drugs, police seized jewellery worth $150,000 and $200,000 cash.

The notorious gang, also known as the Bandido Nation, is modelled on Mexican bandits who lived by their own rules.

They regard themselves as "one percenters" with 99 percent of their lives spent as law-abiding citizens and one percent as outlaws.

There are some 210 chapters internationally across 22 countries.

In the past 50 years the gang has forged a long history of violent turf wars against rival gangs which have often claimed innocent victims.

They have also been implicated internationally in illegal drugs supply and other crimes.

Since 2012 its Australian arm has reached across the Tasman in a concerted campaign to recruit new members to the gang.

There are now patched chapters in Auckland, East Coast, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill as well as a nomad group.

Recently the New Zealand arm expanded with two probationary South Island chapters.

Gang members from Invercargill and Dunedin took part in a three-day patching ceremony which was attended by members from the Australian national and nomad chapters.

In Australia the 30-year-old gang has a catalogue of violence including public shootouts with rival motorcycle clubs.

Numerous police raids have targeted Bandidos members and implicated them in illegal drugs supply and other crime.