Police seize weapons, drugs and cash during raids across Far North

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Police have seized drugs, firearms, and cash during a series of planned raids on properties across the Far North.

In a statement released this afternoon, police said more than 50 charges had been laid after 10 search warrants were executed as part of Operation Cobalt, targeting an alleged methamphetamine distribution network.

The searches were carried out across Kaitaia, Taipa, Kaikohe, and Kaeo, which led to the discovery of 16 firearms, including several prohibited weapons, and ammunition.

Police said 45 grams of methamphetamine, 250 cannabis plants, $36,000 of cash, and $50,000 worth of stolen property, including vehicles, were also subsequently located and seized.

Nine people alleged to be linked to a number of gangs, including Tribesman, Head Hunters, and the Mongrel Mob, have been arrested.

“Together, they are facing 57 charges between them, relating to possession of methamphetamine for supply, supplies methamphetamine, cultivates cannabis and unlawful possession of firearms,” police said.

A 40-year-old woman from Kaitaia with alleged links to the Tribesman Gang was arrested on 27 February. She is facing three counts of possession of methamphetamine for supply and nine counts of suppling methamphetamine, police said.

A 50-year-old Taipa man, with alleged links to several criminal gangs, was arrested the 28 February and charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply, cultivates cannabis, and possession of substances capable of manufacturing methamphetamine.

They have both been remanded in custody and are due to reappear in the Kaitaia District Court on 15 March 2023.

A 35-year-old woman from Kaitaia, with alleged links to the Mongrel Mob Gang, was arrested on 6 March and charged with possession of cannabis for supply, as well as 25 counts of supplies methamphetamine. She is due to appear in the Kaitaia District Court today.

The six others are due to reappear at Kaitia District Court, police said.

Northland CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry said: “This latest operation is a culmination of several months of investigation work generated by intelligence we have received from our communities.

“We know that drugs are a driver of crime and that members of gangs and their wider criminal syndicates prey on the addiction of our communities, and have no qualms to make a profit off the misery of others.”

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