A multi-million dollar drug ring has been uncovered today following a five-month investigation that seized thousands of pills and drug ingredients.
Eight men and seven women have been arrested on charges of importing, selling, supplying and possessing class B and C drugs for supply following 14 raids on properties in Auckland and Napier.
Some of the group are also charged with participating in a criminal group.
All but one of the offenders will appear in the Auckland District Court today. The other is due to appear in the Napier District Court.
Police said some of the group were already on drugs charges from a separate police bust in November.
During the raids, police seized several thousand pills and 3kg of ingredients to make drugs along with $100,000 cash and four vehicles.
The drug offending targeted involved multi-million dollar sales, with one dealer buying $4.5m worth of pills from a New Zealand importer, Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Cahill said.
Cahill said the operation was a result of concerns throughout New Zealand over the increased supply of ecstasy-type pills.
"There is a lot of ignorance amongst users of these drugs, about what the pills contain and the level of danger associated with using them," he said.
"Today's activity will have an impact on the supply of harmful drugs that are regularly leading to hospital admissions."
Drugs identified during the raids include ecstasy analogues 4-MEC, bk-MDEA, Alpha-PVP and N-Ethlamphetamine.
Cahill said the syndicate was sourcing the drugs in powder form from China and Singapore.
Drug importers are constantly altering the chemical make-up of drugs to circumvent the law and avoid detection, he said.
"Legislation relating to analogues under the Misuse of Drugs Act has proved invaluable in combating this offending. The lack of such legislation in other countries has impacted on law enforcement's ability to combat so-called designer drugs worldwide," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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