29 gang members arrested after drug operation
A significant drug dealing network in the Waikato region has been disrupted and more than $1 million in assets restrained after a three-month police operation.
Multiple search warrants were carried out this week in Waikato, Auckland and Bay of Plenty, resulting in 29 Waikato Mongrel Mob members being arrested, Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley says.
The investigation identified and shut down four commercial clan labs based in the Waikato.
As part of the investigation, the Waikato Asset Recovery Unit has restrained property, vehicles, jewellery and cash valued at more than $1 million.
The operation also recovered nearly $200,000 in cash, stolen property, methamphetamine and other drugs and firearms, including loaded firearms.
Those arrested face charges, including participating in an organised crime group, money laundering and the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine.
“The efforts of the last three months highlights our continued focus on organised crime groups who profit by supplying methamphetamine to vulnerable members of our community.
“They push drugs onto vulnerable users and suck money and resources out of some of our most deprived communities, including their own family members and associates,” Graham says.
Sixteen of those charged were remanded in custody and the remaining 13 would reappear in the Hamilton District Court.
Minister of Police Stuart Nash says this major operation would make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks.
“It is particularly significant that police have been able to shut down four clandestine methamphetamine labs in the Waikato.
“Methamphetamine is a scourge in our communities. It causes misery and grief.”
Anyone with information about drug offending or suspicious financial activities is urged to contact police by phoning 105, or give information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.