An alleged drug syndicate that produced and supplied the majority of the country's ecstasy is believed to have been responsible for selling pills that caused users to have seizures and to act so aggressively they needed to be sedated, police say.
Police have arrested 22 people since more than 40 search warrants were carried out across the Auckland region yesterday, and an estimated $14m of assets have been seized.
Media were today invited to view some of the haul: firearms, pill presses, fat wads of money and an assortment of multi-coloured ecstasy tablets were on display.
Officer in charge of the 12-month Operation Arc, Detective Inspector Bruce Good, said those allegedly behind the "sophisticated'' syndicate were also responsible for producing "red rockets'' - pills that caused users to suffer violent seizures and hallucinations, shocking staff at Middlemore Hospital's emergency department in September.
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"The police are concerned that the consumers of these pills are buying and consuming dangerous compounds.''
Mr Good said it was also of great concern that some of the pills were being produced at a factory which also manufactured rat poison.
It was estimated that the syndicate was responsible for producing between 80 and 90 percent of the country's ecstasy over several years.
Police used covert surveillance during their investigation but this had to be put on hold after the Supreme Court ruled as inadmissible surveillance footage in the trial of the Urewera 18 after Operation 8.
Their cameras could be switched back on after parliament introduced temporary legislation regarding the use of such evidence.
Mr Good was confident the operation would have been a success even without this legislation, but the surveillance evidence did enhance the police case.