Police have arrested 12 more people today as part of Operation Cincinnati and located drugs, some of which was ready for sale, and a shotgun after executing 24 search warrants
Police searched 21 properties across Auckland and three in Christchurch
New Zealand Customs staff, Armed Offenders Squad members, Asset Recovery Unit and Police Dog Section staff assisted police with the searches.
It follows the first phase of Operation Cincinnati in October when 26 people were arrested and kilos of drugs was seized, along with multiple firearms and more than $10 million in assets.
Police said the nine-month investigation, run by the National Organised Crime Group, targeted a core group that are alleged to be involved in the importation, distribution and manufacture of methamphetamine and MDMA, and other drugs in the two cities.
Today’s arrests include a leader of the Comanchero MC, who allegedly formed a partnership with a senior member of The Rebels MC in Christchurch, with both allegedly running drug distribution networks in their areas, police said in a statement.
A further 10 motorcycle clubs members and their associates have also been arrested in relation to their alleged roles in the network, which saw drugs and cash transported between the two cities, police said.
National Organised Crime Group acting Detective Inspector John Brunton said police were determined to target the leaders and key members of these “criminal gangs” involved in illicit drug distribution, intimidation and violence.
“We want to reduce the harm these gangs are causing in our communities,” he said. “I also want to acknowledge the great work carried out by the Operation Cincinnati team, who are committed to preventing organised crime of any sort impacting on our communities.”
Those arrested today are aged between 20 and 42 and will appear in Auckland District Court in the coming days on various drugs-related charges.