The owner of a $2 million lifestyle block seized by police after he allegedly shifted millions of dollars in drug money overseas has left the country before detectives could press charges against him.

Jiuliang Wei, 26, sole director of Auckland money exchange business Dreamland Finance, and his finance manager, Xiang Zhang, have been jointly charged with laundering $1.9 million in the past year for an alleged drug syndicate distributing methamphetamine nationwide.

Zhang, 27, appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with money laundering, but Wei left for China before the charges were laid.

The charges against Wei and Zhang were the second phase in Operation Acacia, a joint operation between the newly formed police Organised and Financial Crime Agency (Ofcanz) and the Auckland metro crime squad.

The operation has netted $5.5 million worth of methamphet-amine, about $750,000 worth of ContacNT - the main ingredient in the drug - a cache of 21 firearms and $400,000 in cash.

Detective Inspector Steve Wood said police were unable to arrest Wei before he left the country because of insufficient evidence.

"It was early days on the money-laundering inquiry. He was on our radar but we didn't have grounds to arrest him."

As there is no extradition treaty with China, Mr Wood said: "We'll look to give him, or his lawyer, a ring and invite him back to sort it out."

If the offer was declined, police would seek a warrant for his arrest and put a border alert out for Wei should he return to New Zealand.

Under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, police have already confiscated a 15ha property in Franklin, south of Auckland, owned by Wei.

Mr Wood, of Ofcanz, last week described the $6 million bust of the Asian organised crime syndicate importing and distributing P as one of the most significant in New Zealand.

In unveiling the haul of guns and drugs yesterday, Mr Wood also announced the $1.9 million money-laundering charges against Wei and Zhang.

He said police believed the financial firm had assisted the drug ring by transferring large amounts of drug money through various accounts and moving it internationally to disguise its origin.

"We are not going to rest until we have disrupted the entire network from the organisers and street dealers through to those who help launder the money," said Mr Wood.

"This is what it's all about. The money. People are in it for the money, the greed. If we attack the money and the assets, that's when we get the results. That's when we shut down the criminal networks.

"We not interested in just turning the key. We're interested in turning the key as well as looking at their assets."

Assets seized in Operation Acacia included Wei's home on the Franklin property, four vehicles, the bank accounts of Dreamland Finance and $40,000.

Charges have been laid against 16 people, with more expected.

OPERATION ACACIA
* $5.5m of methamphetamine
* $750,000 of meth ingredients
* $400,000 in cash
* 21 firearms