Police are confident they've "dismantled" a methamphetamine supply group in Manawatu after raids which netted not only drugs but $700,000 in cash, an AK-47 rifle and five vehicles.
Multiple arrests were made, including a 52-year-old Palmerston North man who appeared in court this afternoon charged with possession of methamphetamine and cannabis for supply and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police say as part of 'Operation Zippo', staff from the Manawatu Organised Crime Unit yesterday arrested that man after stopping a vehicle just south of Paekakariki.
A specialist drug dog was used during search warrants at residential properties and storage facilities in Palmerston North and areas around Feilding and Ashhurst.
Police found 80 grams of methamphetamine, 10 kilograms of cannabis plant head, 175 grams of hashish, $278,000 in cash and the AK-47 assault rifle.
Five motor vehicles were also seized as part of the asset recovery action, including European cars.
Another three people were arrested.
A 36-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, both of Palmerston North, face drug related charges, and the woman appeared in court this afternoon charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply.
The third person, a 22-year-old Palmerston North woman, was arrested for a breach of bail.
Police say in the time leading up to the arrests a number of search warrants were executed and these resulted in the arrest of nine people who are facing a range of serious drug charges.
During those warrants police recovered 1.2 kilos of MDMA (esctasy), 300 millilitres of GBL (fantasy), 0.5 kilos of methamphetamine, two firearms and $421,000 in cash.
"We are thrilled with the outcome of the investigation and are confident the group involved in the supply of methamphetamine has been dismantled," said Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson of the Manawatu Organised Crime Unit.
"It again shows that people involved in this drug are driven by greed and will continually look to profit from it. This is at the expense of those who are addicted to its use," Mr Thompson said in a statement late this afternoon.