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Police Terminate Organised Drug Syndicate

Police, Customs, Corrections, Terminate Organised Drug Syndicate

New Zealand Police National News Release

2 September 2008

Police have today executed more than twenty search warrants in the Auckland Metropolitan region as part of a drug related investigation codenamed Operation WEB.

Operation WEB commenced in January 2008 with its objective to investigate
the importation and distribution of controlled and precursor drugs in New Zealand by a well organised group of criminals.

Operation Commander, Detective Inspector Steve WOOD, says the success of this combined agency operation involving Police, Customs and Corrections Officers, will cause significant disruption to the manufacture of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs in the North Island.

"Twelve offenders will be appearing in the North Shore District Court on Monday 22 September 2008, on a wide range of drug related charges, including the manufacture and supply of Class A drugs, and the importation of precursor chemicals. Among those charged are two females," he said.

"Eight are inmates of Auckland Prison and the Spring Hill Correction Facility."

"During the six month operation, Customs and Police seized significant volumes of pre cursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine." Detective Inspector Wood said."

New Zealand Customs had intercepted some 20 kilograms of Contac NT [A Class C controlled drug used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.]Originating in China, most of the Contac NT had come in parcels through the International Mail Centre near Auckland Airport.

Some had also come in courier mail parcels.

Customs New Zealand Manager, Drug Investigations, Bill Perry, said that the twenty kilograms had been linked to today's Operation WEB.

"That amount on Contac NT can be turned into about five kilos of methamphetamine," he said.

"Customs had had a large team involved today also, including two detector dogs, a specialist search team, and nine drug investigators," Mr. Perry said.

"A hydroponics cannabis operation, firearms, cash, methamphetamine were all seized during today's operational activity at numerous residential and other identified locations throughout the Auckland Metropolitan region. These items were not confiscated from within either prison," Detective Inspector Wood said.

"Police began executing search warrants at twenty three residential addresses throughout Metro Auckland as early as 7.00am this morning Tuesday 2 September 2008, effectively ending a six month investigation involving investigators from all three agencies. The total number of all staff involved has been 180," he said.

"At about 8.00am police went to both Auckland Prison at Paremoremo and Spring Hill Prison in the Waikato, where they were assisted by senior prison staff. Selected cells at both these locations were systematically searched and a number of identified prisoners assisted Police."

"This operation has involved specialist and highly trained professionals from within all three agencies combining as a team, to jointly neutralise an extremely sophisticated and well organised group of criminals," Detective Inspector Wood said.

"Corrections provided valuable assistance and support to today's operation," Warren Cummins, Northern Regional Manager for Corrections said.

"Selected cells were searched by Police and Corrections officers at both Auckland Prison and the Spring Hill Corrections facility. Both sites were locked down while the targeted searching was undertaken and are now being progressively unlocked for the return to normal operation."

"The operation went smoothly and there were no serious incidents."

"A number of prisoners from both these prison sites assisted Police with their enquiries," Mr Cummins said.


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