Over $3m of assets seized in drug raid

More than $2 million in cash was seized. Photo NZ Police
More than $2 million in cash was seized. Photo NZ Police
More than $3 million in assets including a Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati were seized when 29 search warrants were executed across the country yesterday.

Eight suspects were arrested in the raids, following the termination of a lengthy investigation into the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine in the Auckland region, code named Operation Genoa.

The raids also led to the seizure of five properties, more than $2 million in cash, gold bullion, silver ingots and a 30 foot launch.

Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) Detective Inspector Bruce Good said 29 search warrants were executed at properties in Auckland, rural south Auckland and Nelson.

"A substantial amount of methamphetamine was recovered at a rural property in Miranda 80 kilometres south-east of Auckland."

As the warrant was being executed one of the suspects escaped, and was apprehended less than two hours later, Mr Good said.

Police dogs were used to capture the man and as a result he suffered minor dog bite injuries.

He was treated by ambulance staff at the scene and later taken to Auckland Hospital for treatment. He is still in hospital and expected to be released into custody either later today or tomorrow, Mr Good said.

The eight suspects arrested will face a range of charges including manufacturing methamphetamine, money laundering, unlawful possession of a restricted weapon, obtaining a false documents and participating in an organised criminal group.

Two of those apprehended were senior patched members of the Head Hunters gang.

Mr Good said the group was running a sophisticated methamphetamine manufacturing operation.

"We believe the suspects, many of whom have family connections, were using several addresses and storage units in Auckland, rural south Auckland and Nelson to produce, store and distribute methamphetamine and the Class B drug ephedrine," Mr Good said.

"Our intelligence indicates they were producing in excess of $1 million worth of methamphetamine at a time which gives an indication as to the size of the market they were supplying."

"In total we have recovered approximately half a kilogram of methamphetamine and 6 kilograms of precursor drugs and chemicals during Operation Genoa. This would have a combined street value of in excess of $3.5 million."

The seizure of significant assets such as luxury cars, gold bullion and properties in Auckland, rural south Auckland and Nelson was particularly satisfying, Mr Good said.

"Operation Genoa sends another powerful message to the criminal community that police will use every legal avenue at our disposal to target organised crime in New Zealand."


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