Police have arrested 13 people during a massive drug sting in Manawatu in which methamphetamine, cannabis, $699,000 in cash, guns and cars were seized.
As part of Operation ZIPPO, the Manawatu Organised Crime Unit made a series of arrests and searched several houses on Thursday.
A 52-year-old Palmerston North man was arrested after police stopped a vehicle just south of Paekakariki. After the arrest by CIB, the Specialist Search, Asset Recovery Unit, and Public Safety Teams searched a number of residential properties and storage facilities in and around Palmerston North, Feilding and Ashhurst.
During the searches police seized 80 grams of methamphetamine, 10 kilograms of cannabis plant head, 175 grams of hashish, $278,000 in cash, an AK-47 assault rifle and five motor vehicles. Five motor vehicles were also seized as part of the asset recovery action, including European cars.
A specialist drug dog was used in the searches.
Another three people were arrested, including a 36-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, both of Palmerston North, on drug related charges. The third person, a 22-year-old Palmerston North woman, was arrested for a breach of bail.
Leading up to the arrests a number of search warrants were executed, resulting in the arrest of a further nine people for a range of serious drug charges. During those warrants police recovered 1.2 kilos of MDMA, 300 millilitres of GBL (Fantasy), 500 grams of methamphetamine, two firearms and $421,000 in cash.
Manawatu Organised Crime Unit Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson said police were thrilled with the outcome and were confident the group involved in the supply of methamphetamine had been dismantled. "It again shows that people involved in this drug are driven by greed and will continually look to profit from it. This was at the expense of those who are addicted to its use, he said. "The impact on our community with methamphetamine supply and its subsequent use is huge. Taking out any supply network is satisfying in our attempts to lessen that impact. "Targeting the people who supply this destructive drug is only one part of what needs to be done. Police are also committed to looking at ways to reduce its use. If we can help people to get away from the drug then it makes sense that the demand for it will lessen," Thompson said.
The 52-year-old man appeared in court on Friday afternoon charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply; possession of cannabis for supply; and the unlawful possession of a firearm. The 36-year-old woman also appeared in court and was charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply. The remaining accused will appear in court at later dates.
5 August 2016
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Meth, cannabis, cash and cars seized in Manawatu police sting