Police are tight-lipped about an operation that has seen at least two rural Northland properties put under lockdown as officers carried out search warrants across the region.
The two rural properties were on State Highway 14 in an area known as Wheki Valley, 21km south-west of Whangarei, had armed police guards and numerous officers searching on Monday.
One property had a half round hay barn and containers on site and the other was a house at the end of a track just a few hundreds metres away on the state highway.
Officers at the scene said they were unable to comment and in a written statement police were said they were carrying out multiple pre-planned search warrants in Northland as part of an ongoing operation.
"Police are not in a position to release any further information at this time for operational reasons. Further details will be released to media at a later stage," a spokesperson said.
The police activity began early Monday morning with locals in Hukerenui reporting helicopters and armed police on their rural road about 5am.
A resident of Waiotu Block Rd, Hukerenui, said he woke to hear a helicopter flying near his property. On his way to work he came across four police cars not far from his house and was approached by Armed Offender officers dressed in black kit and carrying a firearm.
"They asked who I was and where I was going and checked me on the system before letting us go," said the man.
Further down the road there were about 10 police vehicles, some marked and others unmarked.
It wasn't long and news of the flurry of police activity hit Facebook with someone posting the Armed Offenders Squad and the dog squad were at Wheki Valley.
Police had moved their booze bus inside the gates and were using it as a base as other officers scoured the hillside and vehicles parked in paddocks and closer to the yard. As part of the team a police sniffer dog and handler were at the scene.
Portable toilets were also moved in mid morning, perhaps an indication police expect to spend some time examining the scene.
There were at least 20 officers at the site and two could be seen walking in a paddock with spades in their hands.
Only a few hundred metres along the road an armed officer guarded the gateway to a second property where officers could be seen at a house on the brow of a hill.