Friday, 25 September 2009 - 2:26pm |
National News

Police arrest 22 people in Eastern Police District drugs operation

2 min read

Drug dealing including the supply of cannabis to 'tinnie houses' has been dealt a blow in a special police operation which terminated in Hawkes Bay today.

By 1.30pm 22 people - 13 men and nine women - had been arrested on a total of 47 charges, including Class A (methamphetamine) and Class C (possession, cultivation and selling cannabis) related offending.

Those arrested are appearing in the Napier and Hastings District Courts today and next week. More arrests are likely.

Detective Senior Sergeant Sean Hansen, head of Eastern Police District's Organised Crime Unit, said today's highly successful operation follows several months of intelligence gathering, covert and proactive policing activities targeting those involved in the supply and sale of drugs, predominantly cannabis, in Hawkes Bay.

Fifty police staff have executed more than 25 search warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act on properties in Hastings and Napier.

More than 100 well established cannabis plants were found growing in rooms at three houses and a small amount of methampethamine was also located.

"The indoor growing operations were concealed and well set up with lighting and heating," he said.

"We're delighted with the results so far from Operation Rattle and the reverberations will be felt for some time in Hawkes Bay," Detective Senior Sergeant Hansen said.

Some of those arrested are affiliated to local gangs.

"The sale and availability of cannabis and the social harm drugs cause in our community should concern everyone," Detective Senior Sergeant Hansen said.

"Tinnie houses spring up at the drop of a hat. We will continue to put the pressure on drug dealers and suppliers, and encourage the public to tell us if they have information about drug dealing and the availability of drugs in their neighbourhood."

He said public tip offs had in part prompted Operation Rattle which also involved other agencies including bailiff staff who seized assets as part of fines enforcement.

Detective Senior Sergeant Hansen said the termination operation started at 7am.

"It's been a tough year for police in Hawkes Bay so it's been great for us to be out there front footing crime. I'm also sure that many residents will also be pleased to see drug operations curtailed."

Today's termination follows a very successful cannabis recovery programme last summer in which more than 18,000 plants were seized in the Eastern District phase of the national cannabis recovery programme.

"While the cannabis seizures today were found in indoor set-ups, the new outdoor growing season is about to begin. It's vital people tell us if they have information about the activities of people involved in the sale and supply of drugs, and the locations of grow sites or tinnie houses," Detective Senior Sergeant Hansen said.

"The more information we get from the public the better it will be for community safety," he said. "People should not hesitate to contact us as all information will be treated confidentially."


Released by:
Kaye Calder
Senior Media Adviser: District Liaison
Police National Headquarters
Tel 04 460 2986
Mobile: 027 241 6305