Four people have been arrested and a haul of drugs and guns seized in Northland as regional police vow to deploy "as much resource as necessary" to protect their communities amid a spate of unlawful gang activity across Aotearoa.
"Our message to those involved is clear - the community expects a zero tolerance for any violence, gang and drug activities," detective senior sergeant Mark Dalzell said.
"In Northland, police are also taking every opportunity to target those involved in recent gang and firearm-related violence, as well as other gang events that have taken place over long weekends in recent months."
That meant conducting search warrants and making arrests for any identifiable offences.
Three men and one woman - aged between 40-50 - were arrested and charged during a number of police searches overnight in Kerikeri and Mangonui.
Five firearms, a prohibited MSSA-style rifle magazine, ammunition, a large amount of cannabis, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and $3000 cash was seized.
All four people would appear in Kaikohe District in due course.
"Police have already warned they are stepping up their enforcement and disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country and will continue to do so as Operation Cobalt rolls out," Dalzell said.
"Police will continue to disrupt this harmful behaviour and it will not be tolerated."
Dalzell said police would deploy as many resources as necessary to protect their communities and hold offenders to account.
"We will continue to have a highly visible presence across Northland and treat any further incidents extremely seriously.
"We are working hard to ensure we keep our community safe, and police will continue to actively target those involved in criminal activity."
Dalzell said police welcomed information from anyone who had concerns about organised crime, gang activity or the illegal possession of firearms in their community.
"We rely on the eyes and ears of our community and whānau members who can help reduce the harm in our communities."
People could report matters to the police online (at 105.police.govt.nz), by calling police on 105 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
Two people arrested in Hikurangi searches
Meanwhile, two people were arrested in Northland and drugs and guns seized following a separate police search in Hikurangi on Wednesday morning.
Police found a .22 calibre rifle, 205 rounds of ammunition, a kilogram of cannabis and stolen property from a string of burglaries around Northland.
Acting detective inspector Kevan Verry said a 30-year-old woman was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis for supply, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
She will appear in Whangārei District Court on Monday.
Police were also seeking a second person of interest, who they saw today around 10.50am travelling in what they believed was a stolen vehicle in Whangārei.
He failed to stop when officers signalled him to and they pursued the vehicle.
"As the driver was deemed to pose a risk to public safety, the Northland Armed Offenders Squad also assisted in the pursuit," Verry said.
"Police eventually forced the vehicle to a stop in a service alley behind a group of shops in Kamo, and the driver was subsequently arrested."
The driver had two outstanding warrants to arrest.
He has also been charged with failing to stop, driving whilst disqualified, and dangerous driving, and will appear in Whangārei District Court at a later stage.
"Inquiries are still being made into a number of burglaries and thefts around the area, and further charges are likely."
Anyone with information is encouraged to report it online at 105.police.govt.nz, call Police on 105, or report it anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
"Northland Police would like to assure the public that the incident today was resolved quickly, and without harm to the community," Verry said.
"We are committed to addressing any offending relating to the unlawful possession of firearms and the dealing of illicit drugs."