Four clan labs dismantled in drugs operation
The culmination of a two-and-half month long investigation led by Bay of Plenty Police should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can profit from the misery and suffering caused by drugs.
Fourteen search warrants were executed in Tauranga, Tokoroa and Taupo today aimed at disrupting the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine by organised criminal groups. Approximately 80 staff were involved in today’s operation including assistance from the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Armed Offenders Squads, and a specialist search dog from Wellington.
Since the investigation was initiated in April, three clandestine methamphetamine labs have been located and dismantled in the Bay of Plenty (two in Tauranga, one in Katikati). A further joint operation with Waikato Police led to a further clan lab being located in Paeroa.
Over recent weeks six arrests have been made in Palmerston North, Paeroa, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane. This morning’s operation resulted in six further arrests: two men aged 42 and 47 from Tokoroa, one man aged 39 from Taupo, two men aged 51 and 48 from Tauranga and one female aged 43 from Tauranga.
Methamphetamine, cannabis, thousands of dollars in cash, and suspected stolen property, has been recovered today. This is in addition to a large amount of drugs, a stolen vehicle and over $120,000 in cash during previous weeks.
Detective Senior Sergeant Lindsay Pilbrow said: “The impact of this investigation on drug activity cannot be underestimated. The clan labs were large scale and capable of manufacturing significant amounts of methamphetamine which would cause millions of dollars worth of social harm. Three of the clan labs were actively producing drugs and 750 grams of methamphetamine was found at one of those addresses; a significant seizure."
The investigation does not end with the dismantling of the operations. The Police Asset Recovery Unit for Bay of Plenty and Waikato is carrying out a financial investigation to establish the extent to which any offenders have benefited from criminal activity. As of today we have seized vehicles that we believe are the proceeds of this criminal offending and investigations will continue to identify any other property that could become subject to forfeiture. That potentially could include residential properties.
"Today's operation, like much of the work we do, could not occur without the support of the community who are becoming increasing intolerant of the misery and suffering caused by drugs and organised criminal groups. Communities want and deserve a good, safe of quality of life, especially for their children, and they can be assured that we will remain determined and motivated to tackle this issue. Anyone who believes it's acceptable to profit from pedalling poison should think twice; it will only be a matter of time before the police come knocking."
Those arrested during this operation are either subject to ongoing criminal proceedings or will be going to court in the comings days on a range of drugs charges.
If you have information about drugs cultivation, manufacture or supply ring your local Police Station. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.