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11 arrested in major BOP organised crime operation

11 arrested in major BOP organised crime operation

Eleven people have been arrested on serious drug dealing offences following the termination of a three month organised crime operation today in the Bay of Plenty Police District.

The operation has been focused on the areas of Tokoroa, Tirau and Putaruru with further links into the South Waikato in the Waikato Police District

Eight search warrants were executed across the area today, with support from the Rotorua, Tauranga and Waikato Armed Offenders Squad teams.

As a result of these search warrants, a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory along with chemicals and glassware capable of producing significant amounts of methamphetamine was located in Putaruru. Police have also recovered methamphetamine during the course of the operation and termination valued in excess of $170,000, along with thousands of dollars of cash.

Those arrested today were due to appear in the Tokoroa District Court today, 21 December 2011. They will be facing in excess of 50 charges relating to Class A and Class C drug dealing and possession offences. Further charges are expected to follow this initial arrest phase.

The Officer in Charge of Crime Services for the Bay of Plenty district, Detective Senior Sergeant Lindsay Pilbrow, says the operation involved a core team of 10 investigators, who were boosted by a further 50 staff from across the Bay of Plenty and Waikato for the operation's termination today.

"Those arrested today are long-term offenders who essentially make their living from organised criminal activity, in this case, the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine.

"The drug dealing activity of those arrested and charged in this termination is significant and covered the spectrum from street level, to high end dealing and supply, with the estimated value of drugs distributed in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"This activity reached across the Central, Northern and South Island districts as well as Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

"This group have been involved with organised criminal activity in this area for many years and their drug offending has caused a significant negative impact in the local community.

"The local Police have done an excellent job over the years of prosecuting these people whenever possible, however, this operation has taken that work to a new level and has resulted in serious drugs charges being brought against members of this group."

Detective Senior Sergeant Pilbrow says some of those arrested are members of local organised criminal groups, while others also have links into gangs across several districts.

"These sorts of offenders often think they are above the law. They have made careers out of illegal activity, including the manufacture and distribution of drugs, violence, theft, burglaries and intimidation.

"They are the underbelly of our communities and their behaviour should not be and is not tolerated. They are not above the law, and Police will continue to target them and their offending on an ongoing basis.

"The local Tokoroa community in particular has had enough of this type of offending and the impact and harm that it causes, particularly to the town's younger population."

Detective Senior Sergeant Pilbrow is appealing to members of the public to provide information about illegal activities in their local communities.

"This activity has a terrible impact on smaller communities such as Tokoroa, Tirau and Putaruru. We know that people have had enough and you can either provide information directly to Police, or anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers line if you want to.

"Bay of Plenty Police are committed to stamping out those involved in drug dealing houses within our towns and cities. Your information will help put a stop to this illegal activity. You can make a difference."

The independent Crimestoppers number is 0800 555 111.


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