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Organised crime focus nets arrests on day one

Organised crime focus nets arrests on day one

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 - 4:58pm

Canterbury

A Canterbury Police focus on organised crime and gangs got off to a successful start yesterday when two men were arrested at a central Christchurch motel on drugs and firearms charges.

Detective Inspector Virginia Le Bas says officers were visiting motels to talk to owners about how to spot suspicious and illicit activity that might be taking place on their properties.

"A patrol was visiting a motel on Bealey Avenue yesterday afternoon when an eagle-eyed officer saw a vehicle that was known to be associated with a gang member," she says.

"After making enquiries with the motel owner, officers entered two adjacent motel rooms and arrested two men. A search of the rooms located a quantity of Class A drugs, drug utensils and firearms."

The two men were arrested and charged with a range of drugs-related and firearms charges. Both were believed to have gang connections.

A 45-year old Kaiapoi man appeared at Court this morning charged with possessing morphine for supply, possession of cannabis, possession of cannabis utensils and possession of methamphetamine utensils. He was remanded in custody to reappear on 15 May.

A 31-year old Christchurch man appeared on two charges of possession of methamphetamine utensils and two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was remanded in custody to reappear on 29 May.

"This was a great start on the first day of this focus targeting gangs and organised crime groups - and their close links to the drugs trade in Christchurch," says Detective Inspector Le Bas.

"One of the main objectives is to raise community awareness of the activities of gangs and groups involved in illegal drugs.

"We know from experience that drug dealers are often reluctant to use their own homes for their illegal activities, so rely on motels, camping grounds and rental properties. Yesterday's arrest was a prime example of this.

"If we can help make accommodation providers more aware of the risks around letting criminals use their premises, that will go a long way towards putting barriers in the way of their activities."

"The links between organised crime and drugs are of concern to Police - and should be of concern to the wider community.

"Our hope is that we can raise awareness of these activities in the community and work with people who can help us to identify and target these criminals.

"As well as accommodation providers we will also be talking to people like licensed premises, second-hand dealers and other places that gangs and organised crime groups may be associated with.

"We will be providing advice on how to identify criminal activities, how to increase the security of their premises and encouraging them to report suspicious activity to Police."

Police will also be talking directly to gang members and drug users, to help them access health and support services that they may be eligible for. "If we can assist people to remove themselves from gangs, or eliminate their drug dependency, we can significantly reduce criminal activity that goes hand in hand with drug use.

"We also know that drug use is driving a large proportion of the burglary offending that we see. So we continue to urge people to be vigilant about dealing in stolen goods.

"People need to remember that if they're offered a cheap, shady deal, there's a good chance they're dealing in stolen items - and are undoubtedly helping to perpetuate the crime cycle."

The focus targeting gangs and organised crime will continue through to late June.

Anyone with concerns about suspicious persons or activity should contact Police. If an incident is happening immediately, call 111, or call Police on (03) 3637400. Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS

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