The Waikato head of the Mongrel Mob, Sonny Fatupaito, tonight confirmed that three members of the gang have been arrested and remanded in custody in relation to Operation Trojan Shield.
He said the arrests followed searches at three Waikato Mongrel Mob addresses yesterday afternoon.
Fatupaito said his home had not been searched and he had not been detained for questioning. The Waikato gang headquarters had also not been searched, he said.
"Since these cases are now before the court, I will not be making any comment, as media coverage can affect the process and potentially impact the cases, and I do not want to prejudice an individual's right to a fair trial," the gang boss said.
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Earlier today, Waikato Mongrel Mob's public relations liaison, Lou Hutchinson, took to Twitter to say: "Lol do you seriously believe all the bullsh*t spin about the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom [sic] this is a total smear campaign driven by the NZ Police, politicians and mainstream media!"
The tweet was in reply to news reports about gang members from the Mongrel Mob, Head Hunters and Comancheros being arrested as part of Operation Trojan Shield.
Fatupaito said as head of the Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom the organisation has zero tolerance for the importation, selling, supply and possession of methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine.
"My stance is well known across the Waikato region and throughout Aotearoa," said Fatupaito, saying his focus as leader is to influence, educate and empower members to live positive, constructive, and productive lives free from alcohol and drugs, and steer them in a direction away from criminal offending.
He claimed today's actions by the police and mainstream media is intimidation and payback for recent Mongrel Mob protests against biases and racism in the Waikato and New Zealand Police.