Scene guards remained in place at two Oropi properties last night following early morning raids by the police armed offenders squad which uncovered two P labs.
Shocked and surprised Oropi Rd residents said they had no idea any alleged drug activities were going on at either of the properties, one on Gluepot Rd and the other on Oropi Rd.
When the Bay of Plenty Times visited the scene yesterday, ESR and police clandestine lab teams were carrying out an extensive examination at one of the properties.
Officer in charge Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the raids which took place just after 6am yesterday were part of a long-running investigation into an organised criminal group allegedly involved in a methamphetamine manufacture and supply ring.
Mr Schmid said 160 police officers executed 30 search warrants and raided properties in the Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Northland, Waikato and Christchurch.
Mr Schmid confirmed two clan labs were located at residential properties in Oropi.
Mr Schmid said 17 people were detained nation-wide, and two men were arrested by the armed offenders squad in a car on Auckland's K Rd.
Five of those detained were allegedly members of the Head Hunter Gang or their associates. Mr Schmid said several vehicles and a boat were seized, while bundles of cash, including US currency, had been found during the raids.
At one of the searches in Otahuhu, police found $6500 worth of casino chips, in the boot of a Mercedes.
"We suspect that these are linked to money laundering; hiding money that's been obtained from selling meth."
Last night there was no indication from police that any arrests had been made in relation to the Oropi raids, or if any charges were pending.
One Oropi Rd resident said he had left home about 6am to make a delivery, but on his return about 7am he found police had cordoned off entry to both Glue Pot and Oropi roads so could not get to his house for about an hour.
The man's wife, who also did not want to be named, said she heard a dog owned by one of the property owners going "berserk", then heard yelled out from a loud hailer, "Put your hands up and come outside, it's the armed offenders squad".
Another surprised Oropi Rd resident said he had no idea anything untoward had been allegedly going on at the properties.