An associate of the Australian Comanchero gang has been found hiding in the Far North after avoiding police for three months over $6 million of methamphetamine seized at Auckland International Airport.
Police said a significant National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) operation in the Far North this morning has led to the arrest of a senior associate of the Comanchero gang.
The arrest is in relation to Operation Gegenees, which saw 13.5kg of methamphetamine seized at Auckland International Airport in March. The meth was brought into New Zealand concealed within heavy steel machinery.
Police said the drugs had an estimated street value of at least $6 million.
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''Our Special Tactics Group, NOCG, and local Northland staff assisted in the arrest early this morning of a 37-year-old male in Ngataki, who allegedly had been actively avoiding police since March,'' Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said.
The man, along with four other people who had been previously arrested, are jointly charged with Importing the Class A drug. He is expected to appear in the Manukau District Court tomorrow morning.
Schmid said importing methamphetamine is an extremely serious crime for which the penalty can be life imprisonment.
"Today's arrest sends a strong message to all organised crime gangs operating in New Zealand: you will be held accountable. Organised crime gangs are bringing methamphetamine into the country with absolutely no regard for the significant harm it causes in our communities,'' he said.
''We continue to work with our partners to stop this from happening and once again acknowledge Customs for the role they played in this seizure."
Anyone with information about illegal gang activity is urged to contact their nearest police station or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.