A large-scale illicit drug operation believed to be manufacturing synthetic cannabis has been dismantled by police and Customs after a two-day bust in Manawatu.

Approximately 2.5kg of powder believed to be synthetic cannabanoids were seized by Customs during the joint operation that involved three officers and 20 police.

As well as the powder a further 16 pounds of plant material was seized.

As a result of these seizures and subsequent investigation a 41-year-old Manawatü women has been arrested and charged with importing a psychoactive substance.

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"Detecting this powder before it was sold on has prevented substantial harm from being inflicted on our communities," said Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson.

A further seven unrelated search warrants were executed during the course of the two days.

Five Manawatü people in total were arrested and charged as part of the operation:
- 41-year-old woman was charged with importing psychoactive substances
- 34-year-old man charged with possession of cannabis and methamphetamine
- 22-year-old man charged with breach of bail
- 28-year-old man charged with possession of cannabis
- 42-year-old man charged with cultivation of cannabis

All five will appear in the Palmerston North District Court.

Customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien anyone attempting to import and distribute these dangerous drugs would be targeted in furture.

"This operation is a great result for both agencies but more importantly for our communities who will not suffer the effects of these hazardous substances," he said.

"We have all heard and some of us have seen the devastating effects that synthetic cannabis products can have on people. Working together with the community is important and that's where information provided by the public can help us combat drug production and manufacture."

Mr Thompson said anyone with information about drug cultivation, manufacture or supply rings should contact their local police.

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Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.