Nearly $1 million in cash and a prized sports car have been seized from the man alleged to sit at the top of an organised crime ring importing and distributing P around New Zealand.

When police raided the suburban North Shore home of Feng Chih Hsu, they found a gun cache of high-powered weapons - including sniper rifles in suitcases - and $5.5 million of methamphetamine.

The 34-year-old from Taiwan, who is also called Daniel, was arrested and charged after the drug bust last week, described by police as the country's biggest.

But he had already been stripped of his $125,000 Lotus Elise and $985,025 in bundles of cash found at his home under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

The legislation puts the onus on Hsu to prove how he gained his wealth, regardless of the outcome of the criminal court case.

He was a target in the year-long investigation by the newly formed police Organised and Financial Crime Agency (Ofcanz) and Auckland Metro Crime squad (Amcos).

With listed day jobs as plasterers and gib-board stoppers - or simply unemployed - other members of the alleged P ring include Aenoy Bouavong, his brother Phokham, Aenoy Keophila, Henry Mika, Tavita Maleko, Ka Kit Poon and Thi Hong La Nguyen. All have been jointly charged with supplying methamphetamine.

Operation Acacia raids last week found 5kg of methamphetamine, a further 2kg of ContacNT - the main P ingredient - a cache of firearms and ammunition, as well as $236,000.

One of the weapons was a high-powered sniper rifle with a scope.

The hub of the alleged ring was the downtown Auckland apartment that the Bouavong brothers shared in Customs St. The elder Aenoy, 28, is alleged to have been supplied methamphetamine from Hsu and then used "runners" like his brother Phokham as well as Mika and Maleko to take the parcels to safe houses in the suburbs.

The "middlemen" in the syndicate were Keophila, Poon and 26-year-old Nguyen - the only woman - who would allegedly distribute the drugs to their dealers on the street.

Like most police inquiries into drugs and organised crime, detectives in Operation Acacia relied on intercepted conversations from tapped cellphones, commonly known as "wire" jobs.

Those caught on tape allegedly speak in codes - which often change - and use multiple prepaid cellphones which are cheap and easy to replace.

Cracking the code is made more difficult by the fact that many of the alleged offenders are Asian immigrants, in this case a mixture from Laos and Taiwan.

In announcing the arrests last week, Detective Inspector Bruce Good from Amcos hinted that Operation Acacia was linked to eight arrests in the Waikato and Coromandel areas a few weeks ago.

"Those arrests and today's operation signify a major disruption to organised crime networks in the North Island," Mr Good said.

The second inquiry was coined Operation Atlas and targeted alleged methamphetamine manufacturers in Waihi and Whangamata.

The Weekend Herald has established that the link between the two inquiries is a Phillip Ly, a 26-year-old from Vietnam living in the Auckland suburb of Glendene.

In May, police in Operation Atlas charged Ly with manufacturing methamphetamine and since February charged three other men: Steven John Mehrtens, Hoang Quoc Nguyen and Scott Warren Filer. Mehrtens, 55, from Whangamata, and Filer, 47, from Waihi, are also jointly charged with supplying methamphetamine to a number of dealers.

Police say Ly and Nguyen, a fellow 26-year-old from Vietnam, lived in Auckland but would travel to Coromandel to help Mehrtens and Filer "cook" the P in clandestine labs.

However, investigators in Operation Acacia believe that Phillip Ly sourced the ContacNT ingredient from Aenoy Bouavong.

With a street value of $500,000, 2kg of ContacNT were discovered during the Operation Acacia raids last week.

Further charges are likely to be laid against Ly for supplying the Class C drug.

Detective Inspector Stephen Wood has described the disruption of the organised crime syndicate as "one of the most significant seizures of methamphetamine made within New Zealand".

This week, police announced charges had been laid against two men for shifting millions of dollars of drug money overseas for the crime syndicate.

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.

Zhang, 27, appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with money laundering but Wei left for China before he could be arrested.

The charges against Wei and Zhang were the second phase in Operation Acacia and police had already confiscated a $2 million property in Franklin, south of Auckland, owned by Wei.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, the head of Ofcanz, said the asset seizures and arrests had sent a pretty clear message to crime networks this week.

"We are coming after you."

SEIZED
* $125,000 Lotus Elise
* Gun cache including sniper rifles
* $5.5m worth of methamphetamine
* Nearly $1m in cash