Court appearances imminent

Court appearances imminent

National News

Eighteen people aged between 16 and 45 have been arrested in Auckland by the Operation Leo team who executed 12 search warrants in Otara and Papatoetoe this morning.

The three women and 15 men will all appear in the Manukau District Court tomorrow to jointly face the charge of supplying the Class A drug, methamphetamine.

Further, two men arrested in Pirongia (Waikato) and Kihikihi (Bay of Plenty) this morning as part of the Auckland-based Operation Leo activities are due to appear in the Hamilton District Court this afternoon.

The men - a 41 year-old from Pirongia and a 49 year-old from Kihikihi - are jointly charged with five counts of unlawful possession of firearms and possession of explosives (ammunition). Two of the firearms recovered during the Armed Offenders Squad-assisted arrests were loaded. No shots were fired while the warrants were being executed.

The 41 year-old Pirongia man will also be charged with conspiracy to supply methamphetamine and receiving stolen property.

Several other people are still speaking with Police in the Counties/Manukau district after 12 [correct] search warrants were executed in Otara and Papatoetoe this morning. All are either members or associates of organised criminal gangs, The Killer Beez and The Tribesmen.

A number of assets - including vehicles and motorcycles - have been seized by the Proceeds of Crime Unit as part of Operation Leo. In all, a further $200,000 of cash and $500,000 of methamphetamine and cannabis was recovered.

Officer in charge, Detective Inspector John Tims, says the evidence collected so far shows those who have previously attempted to achieve status through music, videos and contact with youth are simply drug dealers who cause destruction and chaos in the community.

ENDS

Issued by Noreen Hegarty

Auckland City Police Communications Manager

Ph 09 302 6947 or 0274-951-589

Website: www.police.govt.nz