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Seven people arrested in meth and cannabis network

02.02pm 14 December 2017 | News

Seven people arrested on drugs charge after long-running investigation into a methamphetamine and commercial cannabis distribution network.

The arrests follow an inquiry involving Police and Customs into a criminal syndicate where members were primarily using residential properties to set up sophisticated indoor cannabis growing systems.

A member of the syndicate was also found to be importing and distributing methamphetamine.

Police first arrested a 34-year-old male last Thursday on charges relating to the importing of methamphetamine following the discovery of 7.6 kg of methamphetamine.

He is next due to appear in the Manukau District Court on 23 January.

Today, Police with Customs support executed a number of search warrants and made a further six arrests.

Five males and one female, aged between 24 and 49-years-old are due to appear in the Manukau District Court today on charges relating to the cultivation of cannabis.

Police have also seized a large amount of cash, a quantity of pills and powder which are in the process of being tested.

Enquiries are ongoing following these warrants and police cannot rule out the possibility of further charges.

Detective Inspector Paul Newman from the National Organised Crime Group says the arrests are the result of excellent collaboration between Police and Customs into a sophisticated and profit-driven criminal syndicate.

“This group were dealing in large amounts of methamphetamine and cannabis and their actions mirror similar operations recently uncovered in Australia where criminal groups, primarily of Vietnamese descent, were running a large number of indoor cannabis growing operations,” says Detective Inspector Newman.

“This is a good example of an organised syndicate with international connections who we believe are using the profits from commercial cannabis sales to fund operations around the importation of methamphetamine.”

Customs Manager Investigations, Bruce Berry says this operation is another great demonstration of Customs and Police working together to build the intelligence picture linking importations to identify how syndicates operate and taking action against them to disrupt their operations.

“This is great investigative work by Police and Customs staff involved in an extensive operation targeting drug syndicates that bring so much harm to our communities,” Mr Berry says.

Detective Inspector Newman says a number of residential houses scattered in the suburbs were set up for the complex indoor cannabis growing systems.

“These properties involved can be extremely difficult to identify but what they do have in common is that the curtains are invariably drawn to assist in cannabis growth conditions and to prevent prying eyes from identifying criminal activity.

“Any member of the public who has concerns is encouraged to contact their local Police station or alternatively can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”