Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Firearms found as Christchurch gang 'taskforce' raid houses

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied

Two men are facing drug and firearms charges after a special police taskforce targeting gangs in Christchurch raided two houses and uncovered a "sophisticated" cannabis operation.

On Wednesday police raided a Rebels MC gang house in Aranui and found a cut-down shotgun and .22 calibre rifle.

A 22-year-old gang member was charged with unlawful possession of drug utensils and unlawful possession of firearms as a result of the search.

Later that day police searched a second address on Fitzgerald Ave and uncovered a "sophisticated indoor cannabis growing facility".

As a result, a 56 year-old man was charged with cultivating cannabis and also possession of a restricted weapon.

The arrests were made by the Offender Taskforce, established at the beginning of March to focus on curbing gang activity in Canterbury.

Canterbury District prevention manager Inspector Corrie Parnell said the Aranui address was a "temporary base" for the Rebels MC.

Parnell said police would be "relentless" and take a hard line with gangs in the district.

"In order to make the streets and homes safe we need to rid Canterbury of illegal firearms and drugs," he said.

"Increasingly we are discovering firearms and other weapons at these addresses and that is extremely concerning."

Since March the Taskforce has executed 175 search warrants and recovered 87 illegal firearms.

Assets worth $5 million have also been restrained by police.

"We will continue to target any crime committed by gangs."

Taskforce staff have also made more than 1000 "prevention referrals" to other agencies to assist families and children exposed to drug use and other family harm.

- NZ Herald

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