Police continue crackdown on gang crime

By James Perry

Police executed a number of warrants in recent days, dismantling a nationwide drug network. photo/NZ Police

At least 10 people have been arrested, and more than 50 charges laid in two separate police operations targeting the illegal drug trade this week.

Seven people were arrested, and a myriad of methamphetamine, firearms, ammunition and tens of thousands of dollars in cash were confiscated after a number of search warrants were carried out across the country this week as Operation Campbell came to an end.

Operation Campbell, run by Police’s National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) targeted a methamphetamine manufacturer, who had established a distribution network across New Zealand. That saw warrants across Northland, Auckland and Christchurch executed on Monday afternoon and concluded on Tuesday morning.

Six men and one women, aged between 18-52, with reported links to the Head Hunter and King Cobra gangs, are among those arrested.

They face charges including manufacture and supply of Class A controlled drug methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a firearm, and participation in an organised criminal group. 

Those arrested will appear in Kaitaia, Auckland and Christchurch District Courts in coming days.

Giant meth lab shut

Operation Campbell is part of a wider police crackdown on drug and gang-related crime, dubbed Operation Cobalt, and Police say they are continuing to step up enforcement and disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country as Operation Cobalt rolls out.

National clan lab manager Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Holmes says the search warrants have identified and subsequently dismantled a large commercial clan lab capable of producing many kilograms of methamphetamine per cook operating out of the Far North. 

"The combination of drugs and firearms is always a potentially lethal recipe for harm and continues to be of grave concern for Police and the communities it serves.  

Police cannot rule out further arrests as the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, Northland Police arrested three more people with gang associations after Operation Cobalt warrants were executed at four Dargaville properties this morning. Cannabis, methamphetamine and illegal ammunition were seized.

A 41-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were arrested and face methamphetamine-related charges.

A 39-year-old man was also arrested and has been charged with unlawful possession of ammunition.

All three are scheduled to appear in the Whangārei District Court today.