More than 50 police, including members of two armed offenders
squads, swarmed into two Tauranga neighbourhoods during a
major crackdown on suspected P-labs.
The raids in Welcome Bay and Arataki began early yesterday
afternoon and saw one school go into lock down and three
But police are not discounting more arrests.
Armed police raided a house in James Cook Drive in Welcome
Bay about 1.30pm and two houses in Gloucester Rd and Mahina
Place in Arataki.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner, head of Tauranga CIB,
said more than 50 police were involved in the operation,
including approximately 30 Tauranga-based detectives and
constables, and members of Tauranga's and Rotorua's armed
As a result of the raids a woman and two men in their 20s
were arrested and charged with a variety of offences,
including possession of methamphetamine, possession of
equipment for the manufacture of P, and possession of
cannabis related instruments, he said.
All three were appearing in Tauranga District Court today.
Mr Turner said all three properties searched remained under
scene guard last night and would undergo forensic examination
by the Auckland-based clandestine drug laboratory team and
ESR scientists today.
He said cordons around the addresses were in place and
occupants of the houses would not be able to return to their
homes until the examinations were fully completed.
People living at the addresses and police personnel were put
through the fire service's decontamination shower yesterday,
It was too early to comment on what police found at the
Welcome Bay resident Alice Campbell was on her couch when she
was startled by loud noises next door about 1.30pm.
"I heard all this banging and yelling outside. I went over to
the window and got the fright of my life," she said. "They'd
dragged two people outside and got them down on the ground
with guns to their heads.
"It was so scary but kind of exciting. The whole street was
Armed police manned cordons at the intersections of James
Cook Drive and Victory St and Village Park Rd and Waitaha Rd.
She said the residents of the house had not caused any
trouble in the past although it was a "rough neighbourhood".
Selwyn Ridge School principal Craig Price said police
informed him they were doing an operation across the road and
he was told to keep the kids at school unless they were
picked up by their parents in a car.
After school finished at 2.30pm, about 500 students were kept
inside the school hall until police issued the all clear 20
Mr Price said police were concerned that children walking
home lived on those streets and would not have been allowed
inside the cordon to get home.
The school attempted to contact parents however some did not
know their children were being held at the school.
Mother of two Emma Potaka expected her children at home but
arrived to find an empty house.
"I was working and when I came home they should have been
there but they weren't. They were half an hour late and I
began panicking and started thinking 'where the heck are
they' so I came up [to the school] to find them."
When she arrived at the school, another parent told her what
"This is really scary," she said.
Her 10-year-old daughter Jayde Rolleston said students were
grouped in the hall and told to stay calm.
"Everyone was trapped in there and I was wondering what was
Logan Davey lives just a few houses away from the house that
was raided in Arataki.
The police had already removed the occupants of the house by
the time Mr Davey realised what was happening.
"They pulled one guy out and everyone, including the cops,
had to strip down and get into these white jumpsuits."
Mr Davey said police brought a young man out of the house, as
well as a young woman and an older woman carrying a baby.
The young man was taken away in a police car, Mr Davey said.
He said police were stationed outside the house overnight to
prevent anyone from re-entering until a drug decontamination
team arrived in the morning.
Mr Turner said yesterday's raids were all part of ongoing
police operation named Operation Wella which last month saw
16 people charged with variety of drug and firearms charges
after dozens of police seized drugs, cash, guns and parts of
a P-lab during 18 raids on Bay properties.
- By Amy McGillivray, Genevieve Helliwell and Sandra
Conchie of the Bay of