Please attribute to Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson, New Zealand Police National Organised Crime Group:
Police have made 24 arrests and seized firearms and significant quantities of illegal drugs, as part of two long-running investigations targeting a Class A drug supply chain between Auckland and Christchurch.
Those arrested face serious charges including dealing Class A drugs, possession of firearms and money laundering.
For more than 12 months New Zealand Police National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) have run Operation Italian Sky (Christchurch) and Operation Sumatra (Auckland), targeting organised crime groups running a multi-million dollar Class A drug supply chain between Auckland and Christchurch.
The operations have concluded over the past four weeks with Police executing a total of 32 search warrants in Christchurch and Auckland. More than 50 vehicles were also searched as part of Police activity. The operations have significantly disrupted and impacted the activity of several organised crime groups, who have been working together to enable a drug-dealing network which has caused significant harm in our communities.
The 24 arrests include 11 people in Christchurch and 13 in Auckland, of which 22 are males and two are females, all aged between 20 and 50. All those charged have appeared or are due to appear in Christchurch and Auckland courts.
The 80+ charges laid include:
• Supplying Methamphetamine
• Supplying Cocaine
• Participation in an Organised Criminal Group
• Possession of Firearms
• Money laundering
• Possession of Drug Manufacturing Equipment
Seizures have included:
• 5kg of methamphetamine
• 3.5kg of cocaine
• Three firearms (pistol, shotgun & rifle)
• $80,000 Stolen vehicle
• $500,000+ cash
NOCG with the support of Police Specialist Groups and Canterbury and Auckland Police staff have deployed more than 100 staff members at any one time to disrupt these groups over the past 4 weeks.
The seizures of cocaine and methamphetamine have an estimated street value of almost $3 million dollars. The volume seized equates to more than 235,000 doses and an estimated $5,500,000 of social harm.
This has been a well-planned investigation with a focus on disrupting a substantial Class A drug supply chain and holding to account those responsible for distributing serious harm into our communities. The mix of Class A drugs and firearms is a lethal cocktail and Police will continue to act with urgency when such opportunities present themselves.
Police have also been supported by New Zealand Customs during the Auckland searches and further investigation is being undertaken in respect to the supply chain and origin of the Class A drugs being supplied.
Our communities are a safer place as a result of this investigation, with these illicit substances off the street and with the reduction in the associated harm and misery that impacts our communities.
The investigations are ongoing and may lead to more searches and arrests.
As the matters are now before the courts, Police are not in a position to provide further detail.
Issued by Police Media Centre
https://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/police-break-class-drug-supply-chain Police break Class A drug supply chain