Police have seized firearms, drugs and cash after executing warrants in the Hawke’s Bay and Taupō areas today.
The search warrants resulted from a two-month investigation focusing on the recruitment of legitimate firearms licence holders to purchase firearms on behalf of (either directly or indirectly) known criminal entities.
Seven people have been arrested and will face charges of unlawfully supplying firearms, participating in an organised criminal group, attempting to pervert the course of justice, supplying methamphetamine and cultivating cannabis. The operation is ongoing and Police have not ruled-out further arrests.
This operation is part of the New Zealand Police strategy to address gun violence in our communities. The National Organised Crime Group [NOCG] have been working proactively with licensed firearms dealers, examining records to identify potential diversion and those persons within the licensed firearms community who are diverting firearms into the hands of criminals, particularly gangs.
The recently established Firearms Investigation Team [FIT] within Police has been established to focus on this type of criminal diversion, working alongside industry partners. This work is tackling the illicit firearms market by targeting the small pool of people offending and holding them to account, following on from Operation Tauwhiro.
Detective Inspector Albie Alexander says “This type of offending undermines the wellbeing of our communities by creating significant social harm. We have a commitment to disrupting and dismantling networks identified and will continue to target those who illegally accumulate assets and wealth through the sale and supply of illegal drugs and firearms. No responsible firearms owner wants to see firearms in the hands of criminals”.
Issued by Police Media Centre