Twenty-six people have been arrested and $10 million in assets have been seized as part of a major police operation targeting the importation, production and supply of illegal drugs in Auckland's distribution network.
The 26 people face a number of drug related charges between them. They are due to appear in the Auckland District Court over the coming days.
More than 100 police staff - including the armed offenders squad, dog handlers, the asset recovery and laundering team and New Zealand Customs - carried out search warrants at 34 properties throughout the wider Auckland region over two days this week, police said today.
It follows a seven-month investigation run by the National Organised Crime Group, called Operation Cincinnati.
Among the items seized were a large quantity of drugs, including methamphetamine and MDMA; commercial-grade drug making equipment; illegal firearms; and millions of dollars’ worth of assets, including properties and high-end vehicles.
The National Organised Crime Group's acting detective inspector, John Brunton, said in a press conference this afternoon that the 26 individuals arrested earlier this week were largely based in Auckland, while others were spread out throughout the country.
Brunton said the group had been involved in "ecstasy pill posession, as well as methamphetamine, cocaine, ephadrine and MDMA powder itself".
The MDMA powder had been imported over the border before being pressed into ecstasy pills using a commercial press in Auckland, Brunton said. He said they were "reasonably well-known in the market" as the "Pink Porsche" variety.
He said the investigation "has worked its way up the network" to get the distributors, importers and producers of the drugs.
Police also seized two commercial presses, along with a large quantity of ecstasy pills and other drugs, including more than 20,000 Pink Porsche pills, he said.
Four rifles and $500,000 in cash were also seized. Bank accounts were also frozen.
Police seized a number of assets and eight luxury high end vehicles at the properties, including a 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista, worth more than $630,000 and a 2020 Porsche 911 Coupe, worth over $230,000.
A 2019 Audi Q8, two Ford Ranger Raptors, a Range Rover Sport and two Harley Davidson motorbikes were also restrained.
In total, Police seized over $1.2 million in vehicles alone.
The Asset Recovery Unit also restrained three properties, worth a total of $5.7 million.
"The asset recovery and laundering team played a big part in this investigation, and it's allowed us to achieve a really comprehensive result," Brunton said.
"Pretty satisfying for the investigation team who worked really hard for the last seven months, some big hours, and to be able to go up that network and really make an impact at the top level has been very, very satisfying," he said.