Four people arrested as part of an ongoing police operation cracking down on the illegal methamphetamine trade in Northland have made their first court appearances.

A fifth person charged as a result of search warrants that were carried out by the Northland Organised Crime Unit across the Whangārei area on Tuesday morning with the help of the armed offenders squad, is yet to appear.

He is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Police believe those arrested have gang links.

Two rural properties in Wheki Valley – between Maungatapere and Tangiteroria – were searched at first light and four firearms were recovered from these properties including a semi-automatic prohibited weapon.

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A third property at Portland, south of Whangārei, was also searched by police teams.

Kane Jason Murray, farmer of Wheki Valley, 29, is jointly charged with Fiona Nivika McFarland, 28, of Onerahi, that between December 3 and 4 last year manufactured methamphetamine and again on or before March 24, 2019. It is a charge that has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The other charge they both face are unlawful possession of a firearm .303 calibre action rifle, unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm a Ruger mini-30 rifle, possession of precursor substances hydrochloric acid and calcium chloride and produced a class B drug ephedrine.

They have been remanded in custody until June 3 when they will appear again in Whangārei District Court.

Emma Jane Whiting, 34, of Portland, faces two charges of offering to supply methamphetamine on March 5, 2019. She is to appear again on June 2.

And Jason Wiremu Williams, 39, faces a charge of offering to supply methamphetamine and will appear in Whangārei District Court on June 2.

The arrests come after Northland police revealed 23 people with gang links were arrested in the region during alert levels 3 and 4.

Police said they used the Covid-19 lockdown period to target a range of gangs, including the Comancheros, Mongrel Mob, Black Power, Nomads, Head Hunters, Rebels, King Cobras, Tribesmen and Mongols.

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In July last year two properties in Wheki Valley were put into lockdown as part of a four-day operation by police targeting the manufacture, distribution and supply of methamphetamine and other drugs in the region.

During that bust nine people were arrested, three women and six men all aged between 28 and 62. Police recovered about $60,000 worth of stolen property along with drugs such heroin, cannabis and methamphetamine.