Police arrest 300 in cannabis crackdown

A two-month national crackdown on drug houses has resulted in more than 300 arrests. Photo / Greg Bowker
A two-month national crackdown on drug houses has resulted in more than 300 arrests. Photo / Greg Bowker

More than 300 people have been arrested in a two-month crackdown on drug houses.

Police carried out 301 search warrants as part of Operation Localise, a nationally coordinated operation focusing on "tinnie houses" - those where cannabis is sold.

They made 311 arrests, seized 32.2kg of cannabis and 139g of methamphetamine.

Cannabis was found growing at 44 locations, with 2657 plants and seedlings seized.

Officers also seized $111,154 in cash, 19 firearms and ammunition.

A wide range of charges have been laid, including conspiracy to supply class A, B and C drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine, participating in an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of a firearm and threat to kill.

"This was a sustained programme of enforcement to combat drugs and disrupt organised crime groups" said Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess.

"Tinnie houses are hubs for criminal offending. The people who run them are often not only dealing cannabis, but also methamphetamine. They invariably receive stolen property, take payments for drugs and are involved in organised crime groups.

"Such houses cause misery in communities and we are sending a clear message that they won't be tolerated.

"We will continue to protect our communities from the harm caused by drug dealers and stamp out the anti-social behaviour they create."

Police are trying to seize assets from 47 of those arrested. They will have to prove they are not the proceeds of criminal activity.

Mr Burgess said he was confident the operation had caused "significant disruption" to drug dealing and warned dealers they would continue to be the subject of close police attention.

- APNZ

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