A patched gang member from Northland was one of 18 people detained after an alleged methamphetamine-ring was busted in a large-scale police operation across the country yesterday.
Police said more than 30 properties were searched in Auckland, Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty as part of a major operation against the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine.
Two properties in Kaikohe and Moerewa were part of the operation that started about 6am and involved 160 officers, searching homes and businesses.
Graham Te Awa, 59, appeared in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday on charges of supplying methamphetamine and participating in organised crime. The Kaikohe man was remanded in custody until April 26 for a bail hearing.
In Auckland police searched properties in the suburbs of Parnell, Grey Lynn, St Heliers, Mt Eden, Mt Albert, Glen Innes, Botany, Hillsborough, Otahuhu, Mt Wellington, Glenfield, Stanmore Bay, East Tamaki and Manukau.
Police also raided properties in Hamilton and Christchurch. Armed police were involved in central Auckland's Hobson St, Botany, Whatawhata and Oropi. Armed Offenders Squad members arrested two men in a car in Auckland's K Road.
Most of the 18 arrested were due to appear in the Auckland District Court yesterday.
Police said the swoop was part of a long-running investigation into an alleged methamphetamine manufacture and supply ring.
Five of those alleged to be involved were members or associates of the Head Hunters gang.
Specialist groups such as Asset Recovery Teams were also involved. Two clandestine labs were found at homes in Oropi in the Bay of Plenty.
"At one of these search warrants in Otahuhu this morning, we found $6500 worth of casino chips, in the boot of a Mercedes.
"We suspect these are linked to money laundering, hiding money that's been obtained from selling meth," said Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid.
Several vehicles were seized from an Otahuhu address, including a highly modified Nissan GTL Skyline and a 2015 Kawasaki motorbike and bundles of cash, including US dollars, were also found.