When police officers raided the Auckland apartment of Shane Hannon they found 616 grams of freshly cooked methamphetamine, $176,000 cash and a loaded 9mm pistol by his bed.
A drug dealer's tools of the trade.
Once upon a time, finding such a criminal cocktail would have at least raised the eyebrows of frontline police. By March 2016, when Shane Hannon was arrested in Operation Turbo, it was a routine discovery to the point of mundane.
Drugs and guns now went hand-in-hand; common knowledge to police staff executing search warrants across the country each day, but largely hidden from a blissfully ignorant public.
That all changed when Shane Hannon took detectives to a house in Takanini. Concealed in the ceiling was enough firepower to arm a small militia: 10 semi-automatic rifles (including three AK-47s), a sawn-off Ruger, a tactical shotgun and two bolt-action rifles.
The frightening cache of 14 guns controlled by a mid-tier meth cook was a vivid illustration of the organised crime problem now entrenched in New Zealand, and the growing threat to police officers, in particular.
While detectives in Operation Turbo turned their attention to trace where Hannon's guns came from, the discovery of the arsenal prompted politicians to finally heed calls to look into the wider issues.
An inquiry by the Law and Order Committee of Parliament investigated how firearms were falling into the hands of serious criminals, and the following year, released a report with 20 recommendations.
Most were ignored by the National government of the day.
Then March 15, 2019 happened and New Zealand's world changed.
A terror attack on home soil, with 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques shot dead and dozens more with serious injuries.
Atrocities committed by a lone wolf gunman, from Australia, who managed to get a New Zealand firearms licence with alarming ease and exploited the existing loopholes to arm himself with semi-automatic rifles.
The Labour-led Government moved quickly to ban the quick-firing lethal firearms like the AR-15 the Christchurch shooter used, to the unease of some legitimate firearms owners.
Those vocal critics were quick to point out that law-abiding gun owners would be the ones who handed over their firearms in the Government's buy-back scheme, not those inhabiting the criminal underworld.
No one knows how exactly many of the newly banned firearms existed in New Zealand, but most estimates would have exceeded the 61,000 guns that were eventually handed in at a cost of $102 million.
At the same time, police investigating drug and organised crime were finding more and more heavy firepower in the hands of criminals.
Ten years ago, 1735 people were charged with 2828 firearms offences and 860 firearms were confiscated.
Last year, those figures had increased to 2399 people charged with 4552 offences and 1862 firearms seized.
And although New Zealand's criminals have long carried firearms to intimidate one another, police and underworld sources say criminals are now more willing to use them.
This apparent escalation is put down to the arrival of motorcycle gangs such as the Comancheros and Mongols after the deportation of senior members from Australia, where turf war is far more common.
The establishment of new players has ratcheted up tension with existing gangs, particularly over control of the lucrative methamphetamine and cocaine trade, but those crimes often go unreported unless the violence spills into the public, or the consequences are fatal.
"We see that as a very undesirable shift in our criminal landscape," Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told the Herald in announcing Operation Tauwhiro in February to target firearms in the hands of criminals.
"While this is predominantly an issue between gangs and organised crime groups, people are dying and that's not okay. And, understandably, that causes fear in our communities. People should not have to live in an environment with this level of violence around them."
Tracing the origin of firearms seized in police raids is difficult.
In the case of Operation Turbo, with the 15 firearms taken from drug dealer Shane Hannon, only two had been registered with police according to a briefing released under the Official Information Act.
After "considerable effort" working with Interpol, and several months of inquiries, three others were identified as having been imported into New Zealand by three different dealers.
Two of three dealers were no longer in business, and were under no obligation to keep their records.
Tracing firearms is time-consuming and the Herald on Sunday can now reveal the police have created a specialist Firearms Investigation Team in Auckland to focus on identifying the illegal supply chains.
Detective Superintendent Greg Williams said the ring-fenced squad was modelled on the specialist teams in some Australian police states.
"We've been thinking about this for some time, and it was timely to start a firearms team as part of Operation Tauwhiro," said Williams, who heads the National Organised Crime Group.
"The focus will be on people who are diverting guns, converting guns and stealing guns for organised criminals."
Williams said "diverting was essentially gun shopping" by licenced firearms holders then selling on the black market, while "converting" firearms was the current trend of modifying starter pistols to fire live ammunition.
The starter pistols are cheap, sometimes as little as $50, and easily available to anyone over the age of 18.
For years, the police have said that most firearms in criminal hands are stolen from legitimate gun owners.
This point has frustrated some in the firearms community, who say there is little data to back up the claim.
"A 2016 police intelligence report said burglary is the primary source of firearms but they have no evidence to support that belief, we believe this was the basis of their advice to the select committee in 2017," said Michael Dowling, chair of the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners [COLFO].
"We want some clear stats and data on theft, the police are yet to provide it. There is very little research on the smuggling of guns, through the border, in New Zealand. There is a lot of research of it happening in Australia, it's naive to think it's not happening here."
Dowling said COLFO believes there may be a pool of around 150,000 "grey market guns" which were firearms banned after the Christchurch mosque shootings that licenced firearms owners had not given to police in the buy-back scheme. There was a risk these could end up in criminal hands, Dowling said.
This is not a new issue which Dowling said had happened after the world wars and when certain firearms were classified as Military Style Semi Automatic (MSSA) after the Aramoana massacre in 1993, not everyone registered their weapons.
The Defence Force sold 3000 of the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle to civilians in the late 1980s but very few were registered after Aramoana, according to a police briefing released under the OIA.
One was found in the arsenal of Jan Molenaar who shot dead Constable Len Snee - then himself - in the Napier siege in May 2009.
Greg Williams agrees there is already a large pool of firearms from which gangs and organised crime groups can source weapons, and is open to the idea that firearms could be smuggled into New Zealand.
"I wouldn't say yes, or no, to smuggling of whole firearms. We are definitely seeing evidence of components of firearms coming in through the mail system.
"We have seized a lot of AK-47s recently and that's very interesting. Some of those could be imported, some could be diverted, so we'll look into those. We'll also seeing some evidence of guns being manufactured here.
"Like anything, if the community has evidence of this please come and tell us. We want to build stronger relationships with the firearms communities."