Senior leaders of the Comancheros and Rebels gangs have been arrested and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash seized following a raft of armed police raids across Auckland and Christchurch.
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 Comancheros gang, who allegedly formed a partnership with a senior member of the Rebels gang in Christchurch, with both allegedly running drug distribution networks in their areas, police said in a statement.
A further 10 gang 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.