Source: New Zealand Police (National News)
Attribute to Detective Inspector Kevin McNaughton, NZ Police:
A Police operation focusing on an ongoing series of incidents involving individuals from the Mongols and Head Hunters gangs has recently concluded, with a total of 19 people facing charges before the courts.
The series of incidents are believed to have commenced around April 5th 2021 and involved a number of serious matters involving arsons and drive-by shootings at properties associated with those gangs.
Locations targeted included Head Hunters gang premises in Mt Wellington and Browns Bay and Mongols premises in Silverdale and Murrays Bay.
The most high-profile incident occurred on April 15th where shots were fired inside the Sofitel Hotel foyer in Auckland CBD.
Fortunately no one was injured in any of these incidents, however these were extremely serious and there was a significant risk to members of the public as a result of the actions of these individuals.
An investigation team involving a number staff from across Tamaki Makaurau, Northland and the National Organised Crime Group, has been working tirelessly over the last two months to identify all individuals involved in these series of incidents and hold them to account.
The investigation also uncovered a number of people who were allegedly assisting the offenders involved who were actively attempting to avoid Police.
Over the course of the investigation, Police have made a total of 19 arrests, with the latest arrest occurring last week, and all 19 alleged offenders are appearing before the courts.
Three firearms were also located and seized as part of the operation, including a prohibited semi-automatic rifle and a sawn-off shotgun, as well a significant quantity of ammunition and improvised explosive devices.
Seven people who are members or associates with the Mongols gang have been charged with a range of serious offences including participation in an organised criminal group, dangerous act with a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson and possession of firearms and explosives, and drug dealing offences.
Six members of the Head Hunters gang have been charged with numerous offences including participation in an organised criminal group, dangerous act with a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of firearms and drug dealing offences. Further charges are possible.
A further six associates of the Head Hunters gang were charged with accessory after the fact in relation to allegedly assisting an offender involved in the Sofitel shooting to escape Police.
While the series of incidents were targeted between members linked to both gangs, the actions of those involved posed a serious risk to the safety of the wider public.
Police will not tolerate gun violence and serious gang offending in our community.
This was a complex investigation involving a large number of offenders and I want to acknowledge the dedication of our staff who have been committed to identifying and apprehending everyone allegedly involved in these series of incidents.
Gun violence has no place in our society and we hope the conclusion of this operation reassures the public that dangerous and serious criminal acts by gangs will not be tolerated by Police.
Nick Baker/NZ Police