A massive cache of high-powered military assault weapons stashed in the ceiling of a house and a sophisticated P-lab with a secret room have been uncovered in a major drug bust this week.
Police say they have uncovered an elaborate methamphetamine production set-up at a South Auckland warehouse when a number of search warrants were carried out in South Auckland yesterday.
A 37-year-old man was due to appear in the Manukau District Court today on a range of serious charges after he was arrested at an Auckland inner-city apartment yesterday allegedly surrounded by $650,000 of drugs and cash.
"When our officers entered the apartment he's alleged to have had a 9mm handgun next to his bed, a plastic container filled with half a kilo of freshly-made methamphetamine worth as much as $500 000 and a bag with around $150 000 in cash" said the Organised Crime Group's Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid.
A few hours later detectives gained entry to an industrial warehouse related to him in Ash Rd, Wiri, where they found a heavily-fortified building.
A clan lab used to manufacture methamphetamine was found inside.
Officers searched the property and discovered a well-hidden secret room with another clan lab with two firearms and ammunition lying on the bench. Police remain at the scene where an examination is expected to continue for much of today.
Search warrants were also carried out by officers at several storage units where chemicals and equipment used in the manufacture of methamphetamine were found.
A Takanini home was searched yesterday afternoon where a stash of high-powered military rifles including 14 AK47s and M16s were found inside the residential property. Most were found stashed in the ceiling.
"The fact that we've found such an elaborate meth set-up, as well as so many guns, will have organised crime at its roots" said Mr Schmid.
"Methamphetamine is a highly valuable illegal drug, so with competition for market and the possibility of 'rip-offs' there's no doubt that firearms are a tool of trade if you've involved in the criminal world of manufacturing or dealing methamphetamine."
Mr Schmid said further inquiries into the associates of the arrested man were ongoing. Police suspected the methamphetamine being produced in the South Auckland operation was likely to have been making its way into the national supply chain.
"Establishing exactly where these firearms have come from is now a priority for us, and we will make many inquiries into this over the coming days" he said.
The man appearing in court this morning would be facing a number of charges that included possession for manufacturing, possession for supply of methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of firearms.
Police have not ruled out further charges.