Police have arrested 52 people, and found thousands of dollars of illicit drugs, including 22.5 grams of methamphetamine, in co-ordinated drug busts across Northland.
About 80 police executed search warrants on homes in Whangarei, Dargaville, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kaitaia and Mangonui last week as part of Operation Dan, which targeted cannabis tinnie houses, indoor dope growing operations and methamphetamine - or P.
Of great concern to police was that children were found in several of the drug dealing houses and the families involved have been referred to Child, Youth and Family.
Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Rob Huys said the operation - conducted over three days after more than six months of intelligence gathering - netted a number of people who were involved in serious drug offending, including some well organised gang-related criminals.
Auckland dog handler Ross Clarke and his drug-sniffing dog, German Shepherd Archie, were involved in the hunt for illegal drugs at many of the properties.
Mr Huys said during the warrants, police arrested 52 people who are now facing a variety of drug dealing charges. They also found 22.5 grams of methamphetamine, 193 cannabis tinnies - including 100 at an Otangarei home - more than $20,000 cash and stolen property including two outboard motors and an iPhone.
"It is well known that organised crime groups have a negative impact on society so we wanted to cause maximum disruption to these offenders and their criminal networks, sending a strong message that this type of offending will not be tolerated in Northland," Mr Huys said.
"In a wider context, the intention is to deter others from being involved in the illicit drug trade and also prevent the occurrence of other connecting crimes, such as burglaries and theft. The other aspect of drug offending is its association with other crimes, like burglary and thefts that are carried out to facilitate the purchase of drugs."
Mr Huys also said that the safety of the children, found during the raids, was paramount.
"It is not acceptable to have children living in this environment and we will do whatever we can to ensure the safety and well-being of these children," he said.
Operation Dan was also supported by New Zealand Customs and the Ministry of Justice Fines Collection Unit.
This unit seized a number of items including a house bus, two vehicles, three televisions and $4000 cash.