11 arrested in crime-ring bust involving guns, drugs, cars and gold

Guns, drugs and more than $1m in cash, gold, cars and bitcoin have been seized by police as part of a major operation focused on organised crime.

Police arrested 11 people who were involved in the Auckland crime ring including those with strong links to the Head Hunters Motorcycle Gang, manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine, as well as their illegal possession of firearms.

The four-month-long investigation, dubbed Operation Evansville, run by a joint Tāmaki Makaurau Organised Crime Team, came to an end yesterday when 21 search warrants were carried out in Henderson, Long Bay, Flatbush and Auckland central.

Eleven people were arrested and faced various charges including robbery, unlawful possession of firearms, possession for supply methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine and money laundering.

The group includes two men, aged 47 and 50, who were arrested in the final phase of the operation yesterday, and have since appeared in the Auckland District Court.

Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe, Field Crime Manager for Auckland City District, said organised crime groups, drugs and guns go hand in hand.

“These organised criminals are often unlawfully in possession of firearms, which poses a risk to our community and is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“They often live what appears to be a lavish lifestyle with cash and flash cars, but they do that by peddling methamphetamine into our community, devastating the lives of the users and their families in the process.

“Their offending has a flow-on effect, with drug users often turning to crime such as robbery, burglary and theft to fund their drug addictions, leaving innocent victims in their wake.”

Police would continue to target organised crime and the recovery of illegal guns, as part of the nationwide Operation Tauwhiro, which was announced by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster last week.

Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity, or who suspects organised crime or gang activity in their neighbourhood, should contact police at 105.police.govt.nz, call on 105, or report it anonymously via Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111.

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