More than $1 million cash and a stash of stolen guns were found in homes linked to a senior Head Hunter free on bail for serious methamphetamine charges.

Police raided the lifestyle property where David Gerrard O'Carroll was cooking a batch of P and arrested him as the ringleader of a group manufacturing the Class A drug.

Despite the leading gang member's lengthy criminal history - including previous convictions for methamphetamine manufacture - O'Carroll was released on bail to a different address in Miranda, just 2km away.

On top of the $1m cash later found at O'Carroll's home, police said they seized more than $3m of assets in Operation Genoa. Photo / NZ Herald
On top of the $1m cash later found at O'Carroll's home, police said they seized more than $3m of assets in Operation Genoa. Photo / NZ Herald

Six months later, police found more than $1m cash at the second address. There was $900,000 hidden in a bedframe, the balance in a wardrobe. Detectives also returned to the other property where he was first arrested. There, a cache of 14 stolen firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were discovered in a secret bunker under the kitchen.

Advertisement

"I must have walked over it 20 times before we found it," said Detective Sergeant John Sowter. "It was hidden under a tile in the floor. The grouting must have been replaced every time they went in there."

A cache of 14 stolen firearms were hidden in a concrete bunker underneath a kitchen floor.
A cache of 14 stolen firearms were hidden in a concrete bunker underneath a kitchen floor.

A dozen of the weapons, mainly shotguns, were traced to a burglary of a gun collector in Bucklands Beach a few months earlier.

The case comes as Parliament looks to tighten laws on gun control to keep the weapons out of the hands of criminals after a number of high-profile shootings.

The firearms charges against O'Carroll were thrown out by a judge who ruled the police could not prove the 52-year-old knew about the cache of guns because O'Carroll was living in a different address while on bail for the methamphetamine charges.

Items seized during Operation Genoa where more than $3m in assets including a Ferrari, Porsche and a Maserati during police searches across the country. Photo / NZ Herald
Items seized during Operation Genoa where more than $3m in assets including a Ferrari, Porsche and a Maserati during police searches across the country. Photo / NZ Herald

Now the criminal proceedings have ended, the Herald can reveal O'Carroll is already behind bars.

He is serving 16 years and five months in prison after being found guilty of three charges of making the Class A drug last September.

The jury was unaware the man in the dock was one of the most senior members of the East Chapter of the Head Hunters.

"It seems ironic that O'Carroll is proud as punch to don his patch, flash his tattoos and ride his Harley around town with all his other criminal mates," said Sowter. "But when it comes to court he cowers away from his involvement with the gang."

David Gerrard O'Carroll pictured in early 2000.
David Gerrard O'Carroll pictured in early 2000.

O'Carroll's criminal history spans 33 years and Justice Mary Peters sentenced him for cooking about 2kg of methamphetamine.

She was sure O'Carroll "controlled" the property where he was caught manufacturing the Class A drug - and the firearms were later found.

"Methamphetamine causes widespread misery," the judge said. "Those who manufacture for profit - as you did - suffer the consequences when they are caught."

One of the stolen firearms found under the kitchen floor. Photo / Supplied
One of the stolen firearms found under the kitchen floor. Photo / Supplied

On top of the $1m cash later found at O'Carroll's home, police said they seized more than $3m of assets in Operation Genoa. That included a further $2m cash, luxury cars including a Ferrari, Porsche and a Maserati, a 9m launch and five properties as well as gold and silver bars.

Cash seized in Operation Genoa. File photo / NZ Police
Cash seized in Operation Genoa. File photo / NZ Police

Much of the ill-gotten wealth belonged to another patched Head Hunter, Michael Joseph Cavanagh. He was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to money laundering, possession of a pistol and supplying the Class B drug used to cook P.

Dozens of fake driving licences were used by the drug ring to rent storage facilities under aliases in a bid to hide the assets from police, as well as set up bank accounts and safety deposit boxes. One of the storage units had not been accessed for three years and had $300,000 inside.

Dozens of fake driving licences were used by the drug ring to rent storage facilities under aliases in a bid to hide the assets from police. Photo / NZ Herald
Dozens of fake driving licences were used by the drug ring to rent storage facilities under aliases in a bid to hide the assets from police. Photo / NZ Herald

Holding assets under the aliases, or in someone else's name, was an attempt to subvert asset forfeiture laws.

The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act essentially forces someone to prove how an asset was paid for - even if they were acquitted on criminal charges.

A cache of 14 stolen firearms were hidden in a concrete bunker underneath a kitchen floor.
A cache of 14 stolen firearms were hidden in a concrete bunker underneath a kitchen floor.

David O'Carroll


May 2014

- Arrested and charged with making methamphetamine. O'Carroll bailed to different address.

June 2014 - A cache of weapons and 5000 rounds of ammunition stolen from a gun collector in Bucklands Beach.

December 2014 - The stolen guns found at the home where O'Carroll was cooking P. More than $1m found at his bail address.

September 2015 - O'Carroll convicted at trial. Sentenced to 16 years and 5 months in jail.

July 2016 - Firearms charges against O'Carroll thrown out.