Major drug operation nets 23 arrests and thousands of pills

Major drug operation nets 23 arrests and thousands of pills

Wellington

More than 100 Police Officers were part of a major Police operation that executed more than 20 search warrants in Wellington, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, Eastern and Central Police Districts over the last two days.

Operation Nebraska was led by Wellington District Police with support from the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) and other Police staff nationally and as part of the Police's continued commitment to target serious drug offending. This Operation follows the successful interception and seizure of $2 million worth of methamphetamine last week.

The investigation has seen 23 people arrested nationally and charged with a range of offences including supplying methamphetamine and manufacturing and supplying ecstasy. These arrests include 14 men and nine women aged between 21 and 61 years. They will be appearing in courts across the country on serious drug dealing, money laundering and fraud-related charges.

ESR Scientists are working with Police in Christchurch to examine and dismantle a scene where it is believed pill manufacture was taking place.  A commercial pill-press has been seized along with thousands of pills and approximately five kilograms of powder. Firearms have also been located in Rotorua and Christchurch.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch of the Wellington Drugs and Organised Crime squad stated “We have been monitoring this syndicate’s activity for a number of months to collect evidence of their alleged drug dealing activity. As a result, we have deployed investigators, response and specialist staff across five policing districts to gather evidence and make these arrests. The Operation will cause significant disruption in the illicit pill market.”

The Police Asset Recovery Unit have restrained assets valued at more than $1,875,000 which includes four properties, a boat, five vehicles and money held in bank accounts of $230,000.

“We are sending a clear message to these people that if you are going to derive your income from drug activity that harms our communities, we will be using all the legislation available to disrupt that behaviour and seize those assets.”

Police believe their action will have made a significant impact on this commercial drug operation that has been distributing Methamphetamine and Ecstasy between the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury over an extended period of time.    

ENDS

For media queries, please contact Nick Bohm, Wellington Police District Communications Manager, on 027 559 2235.