About $17 million of methamphetamine - 17 kilograms - has been seized following a seven-month police and Customs sting.
Three people have been arrested and charged with importing methamphetamine, supplying methamphetamine and money laundering. About $150,000 worth of jewellery and $200,00 cash were also recovered.
The sting, dubbed Operation Cossack, was an investigation into the alleged importing of methamphetamine by a member of the Thailand Chapter of the Bandidos Motor Cycle Gang.
Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander of the Counties Manukau Organised Crime Unit said the methamphetamine was destined for the New Zealand market. "Methamphetamine is a significant driver of crime in New Zealand," he said. "It ruins lives, destroys families and does enormous damage to our communities."
Venkant Raman, a member of the Counties Manukau police South Asian Advisory Board, said Customs and the police had carried out a "meticulous" investigation. "The impact of drugs on our communities can be devastating, and we as a community need to all stand up and say that we will not accept it," he said.
Three men aged 54, 31 and 28 will appear in court this month in relation to the operation. Police said further charges could be laid as the investigation continued.
WHO ARE THE BANDIDOS?
Police describe the Bandidos as a worldwide organised crime syndicate. The gang's first chapter was started in Texas in the 1960s and there are now chapters throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
It was established in New Zealand in 2012 and now has chapters in south Auckland and Christchurch, as well as prospect chapters in Dunedin and Invercargill.
The gang's motto is "We are the people your parents warned you about."
In Australia, the gang has clashed violently with fierce rivals The Rebels Motorcycle Club. Gang expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert has previously said that it was unclear whether those conflicts would emerge in New Zealand. "I do feel that in a growing scene gang violence becomes somewhat inevitable," he said. "In a crowded room, somebody is always going to get elbowed."
5 October 2016
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