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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Police – Release/Statement

Headline: Success in undercover Police operation targeting drug dealing

Source: New Zealand Police – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Success in undercover Police operation targeting drug dealing

Thursday, 2 June 2016 – 9:52am

More than $11 million worth of property is under investigation or restraint by Police after a seven month long operation targeting drug dealing houses.

The operation, timed to complement and support the 2015/16 National Crime and Cannabis Operation, involved nine Police districts across New Zealand and resulted in charges against 155 offenders.

Undercover Police officers were deployed across New Zealand identifying and dismantling drug supply chains operating from over 100 addresses.

Detective Inspector Craig Scott, from the National Crime Group, said the property liable to be seized includes cash, six houses, and a number of commercial premises and vehicles.    

The operation also resulted in:

*Around 900 grams of methamphetamine (with a wholesale value of approximately $750,000) seized

*42 kilograms of cannabis plant material (with a wholesale value of $376,000) seized

*89 cannabis plants seized

*Seven firearms seized, one of which was purchased by an undercover officer and one which was found loaded and easily accessible.

*46 addresses were selling methamphetamine, 70 addresses were selling cannabis, and seven addresses were selling synthetic cannabis. 25 of these properties targeted were selling both cannabis and methamphetamine.

*791 charges have been laid against 155 offenders.

Of concern, is that 40 children, aged between 3-weeks-old to 16-years-old, were found in drug dealing houses across the country. A number of referrals to Child, Youth and Family have been made.

During the operation an officer was sold drugs by a woman who was carrying a young child in her arms.

In another incident, a woman was involved in the sale of methamphetamine to an undercover officer whilst breastfeeding her young baby.

Detective Inspector Scott said this is completely unacceptable as the dangers and risks children face from being exposed to drugs and the drug environment is enormous.

“Police is determined to shut down drug dealing operations to prevent the significant social harm they cause the community, the users and their families,” said Mr Scott.

54 percent of the people charged in this operation have previously been linked to family violence incidents. Another 44 percent have been convicted of a violence related offence.

During the operation the officers successfully infiltrated a number of organised criminal gang operations which featured prominently among those arrested. Two separate gang chapter presidents were included in the arrests.

“As part of the Police effort to reduce the demand for these products and increase the quality of life for users and their families, a number of persons identified as having addiction issues were referred to addiction services,” said Mr Scott.

“In some districts Police also worked with local Iwi to provide further assistance and support for people and their whanau wanting to enjoy a drug free life.”

Detective Inspector Scott also praised the excellent efforts of the undercover officers and their support teams.

“This undercover work carries a high level of risk and considerable courage and determination is required to infiltrate these groups.”

“A significant number of people charged in this operation were already known to Police,” Mr Scott said.

“Our belief is that drugs are one of the main drivers of other criminal offending so we’re pleased we’ve been able to identify and disrupt this activity.”

An important part of the success of this operation is because people have stood up against drugs and the harm they cause to their community and provided Police with vital information.

Anyone with information about any form of criminal activity, including drug dealing, is encouraged to contact their local police station or call anonymously through CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Media contact: Philippa Ormrod, Philippa.ormrod@police.govt.nz