Twelve people, including senior Comancheros and Rebels gang leaders, have been arrested as part of a police operation targeting the importation, manufacture and supply of drugs, including methamphetamine and MDMA.
Search warrants were carried out at 21 properties throughout the wider Auckland area and three properties in Christchurch, National Organised Crime Group acting Detective Inspector, John Brunton, said today in a statement.
Police, New Zealand Customs staff, the armed offenders squad, the Asset Recovery Unit and the Police Dog Section carried out the warrants.
It comes as part of the second phase of Operation Cincinnati, which saw 26 people arrested and kilos of drugs, multiple firearms and more than $10 million in assets seized in October.
The nine-month investigation, run by the National Organised Crime Group with assistance from NZ Customs, targeted a core group alleged to be involved in the importation, distribution and manufacture of methamphetamine and MDMA, along with other illicit drugs, throughout the Auckland and Christchurch regions.
The arrests include a leader of the Comancheros gang, who allegedly formed a partnership with a senior member of the Rebels gang in Christchurch, with both allegedly running drug distribution networks in their areas.
A further 10 gang members and their associates have also been arrested in relation to their alleged roles in the network, which saw drugs and cash transported between the two cities.
Police also located and recovered a quantity of drugs - some of which had been packaged and ready for sale - along with over $200,000 in cash and a shotgun.
Brunton said police could not rule out further searches.
He said police are determined to target leaders and key members of criminal gangs involved in illicit drug distribution, intimidation and violence.
“We want to reduce the harm these gangs are causing in our communities,” Brunton said.
“I also want to acknowledge the great work carried out by the Operation Cincinnati team, who are committed to preventing organised crime of any sort impacting on our communities.”
Twelve people, aged between 20 and 42, will appear in the Auckland District Court in the coming days on various drug-related charges.