Millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine have potentially been prevented from hitting the streets due to the smashing of an organised drug ring in Bay of Plenty, police say.

Operation Detroit culminated today in a series of search warrants in Maketu, Te Puke and Tauranga involving about 40 staff.

Police said the raids had put two clan labs out of operation.

A total of 16 men and two women have been arrested during the nearly four month operation.


Three men and one woman face a variety of cannabis offences. The remaining 14 all face a variety of Class A drug-related charges.

The majority of the operation took place in Western Bay of Plenty, but three warrants were executed in Hamilton where police said a very significant seizure of precursor material was made. Two arrests are associated with that seizure.

One clan lab was allegedly located in Tauranga last week and a second was subject to a significant fire in Katikati on Sunday after three occupants allegedly set light to it as police arrived at the property.

Thousands of dollars worth of methamphetamine and precursors with the potential to make millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine were recovered during the operation along with firearms, ammunition, cash and a stolen motorbike, police said.

Three motorbikes and two vehicles have also been seized under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

"These are sweet victories in an ongoing battle against organised criminals and gangs,'' Detective Senior Sergeant Lindsay Pilbrow said. "Methamphetamine causes nothing but misery and our communities have had a guts-full.

"Not only are we intent on disrupting the trade, we will take every opportunity to hit them where it hurts by having the proceeds of their criminal activity forfeited.''