Armed cops raid gang pads

By Mike Dinsdale

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Gang members using firearms in standover tactics targeting drugs have prompted armed police to raid two Northland gang pads.

Up to 25 police, including members of the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS), raided two gang houses in Kaitaia around dawn on Thursday, targeting members of the Tribesmen motorcycle gang, Far North Police Area Commander, Inspector Wendy Robilliard, said. The people targeted in the search warrants were serious violent offenders, she said.

Some had been using standover tactics involving firearms for drugs, and such a use of guns meant the AOS was involved in the raids, she said.

The standovers were not part of any wider rival gang tensions, but Ms Robilliard said Thursday's raids were carried out to disrupt the gang and prevent any gang activity escalating.

Ms Robilliard said police and the Kaitaia community would not tolerate the criminal activities of these gangs, so gang members could expect police to keep knocking on their doors to put a stop to their offending.

Police arrested two men and a 15-year-old boy during the raids and a quantity of ammunition was recovered, but no firearms. Asked whether the Kaitaia community should be concerned about firearms still being among gang members in the town, Ms Robilliard said drugs and firearms were often related to gang activities and police would continue to target the gangs, through tactics such as Thursday's search warrants, to suppress their activities.

"If anyone has information relating to suspicious activity or they have any concerns they can contact their local police or if they wish to remain anonymous they can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111," she said.

Following the raids a 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of ammunition and a 15-year-old boy was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court.

A 48-year-old man, who was breaching bail relating to several drug charges when police turned up, is now in custody. The charges he faces include possession and supply of methamphetamine and possession of equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine.

- Northern Advocate

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