Mongrel Mob members being swept up in sting interrupts Waikato chapter's claimed attempt at reform

Drug charges for three gang members have interrupted a claimed attempt at reform by the Mongrel Mob’s Waikato chapter.

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Louise Hutchinson admits having three members caught up in the global sting is “not a good look”. Source: 1 NEWS

Those arrested are among hundreds caught in a worldwide sting led by the FBI.

"We don't want them to go down those paths that we know are harmful for future generations to come," Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom PR spokesperson Louise Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson called the charges laid against some of its members "individual choices".

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"Everything that we've done can be destroyed in just one day."

Three Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom members were swept up in raids on Tuesday where 35 people around the country were arrested on drug dealing, money laundering and other conspiracy type charges, Detective Superintendent Greg Williams earlier said in a press conference.

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Members of the Head Hunters, Waikato Mongrel Mob and Waikato Comencheros are among those arrested. Source: 1 NEWS

The trio were caught in an international police sting, Operation Trojan Shield, where the FBI secretly set up and ran an encrypted communication service. The service, used by unsuspecting criminals, allowed agents to monitor alleged money laundering, drug dealing and even murder plots in near real-time.

"If we suspect there are problems, we get in there and we deal with it. There is drug testing here, we do drug testing of our members," Hutchinson said.

The Mongrel Mob’s Waikato chapter are angry that while their organisation has been named by police, others arrested have had their occupation and workplace supressed by the courts, including a man involved in national security.

"There are organisations, media organisations, that are very quick to put up just our image — the Waikato Kingdom image — and it’s unfair," she said.

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For years Hutchison said they've called for meetings with police and politicians to discuss issues, such as drugs, and to seek support for families left behind by those arrested.

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The sting is part of a transnational law enforcement operation involving Australia, the US and Europe. Source: 1 NEWS

"They are trying to put out this image that they are about trying to care for the community and all of this other stuff — that's fake news," National’s police spokesperson, Simeon Brown, said.

"Ultimately, the place for those issues to be heard is in court," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added.

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While police named specific gangs this week, they told 1 NEWS they wouldn't typically name organisations that are employers of those arrested.

"It is always a continual wake-up call for our members to know that our whole kaupapa is on the line every day," Hutchinson said.

Brown, however, said this week’s bust "needs to be happening over and over again".

Those arrested are due back in court later this month.