Source: New Zealand Police (District News)
A dozen firearms, methamphetamine and more than $1 million in cash, gold, high-end vehicles and bitcoins have been taken out of the hands of organised criminals, following a major Police operation in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The operation, dubbed Operation Evansville, is a four-month long investigation run by a joint Tāmaki Makaurau Organised Crime Team.
The investigation focused on organised crime individuals, including those with strong links to the Head Hunters Motorcycle Gang, manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, as well as their illegal possession of firearms.
Detectives also located two clandestine labs as part of the investigation.
More than 21 search warrants have been carried out in the wider Auckland region, with seven of those carried out in Henderson, Long Bay, Flatbush and Auckland Central yesterday.
To date, 11 people have been arrested and face various charges including Robbery, Unlawful Possession of Firearms, Possession for Supply Methamphetamine, Manufacturing Methamphetamine and Money Laundering.
The group of 11 includes two men, aged 47 and 50, who were arrested in the final phase of the operation yesterday, and have since appeared in the Auckland District Court.
Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe, Field Crime Manager for Auckland City District, says organised crime groups, drugs and guns go hand in hand.
“These organised criminals are often unlawfully in possession of firearms, which poses a risk to our community and is completely unacceptable,” he says.
“They often live what appears to be a lavish lifestyle with cash and flash cars, but they do that by peddling methamphetamine into our community, devastating the lives of the users and their families in the process.”
“Their offending has a flow on effect, with drug users often turning to crime such as robbery, burglary and theft to fund their drug addictions, leaving innocent victims in their wake.”
Police will continue to target organised crime group activities and the recovery of illegal firearms, as part of the nationwide Operation Tauwhiro, which was announced by the Police Commissioner Andrew Coster last week.
Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe says Police are committed to disrupting these kinds of criminal groups, and the community can also play a part to help prevent further harm they cause.
“Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity, or who suspects organised crime or gang activity in their neighbourhood, is urged to contact Police.”
You can report it online at 105.police.govt.nz, call Police on 105, or report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Adriana Weber/NZ Police
Media note: Photos and B-roll footage of firearms and other items seized is available upon request. Please email email@example.com to request these. A video will also available on the Auckland City District Police Facebook page later today.