Multiple arrests as police target Mob drug dealing
Marlborough's top cop says he hopes the multiple arrests in the region yesterday will put an end to Mongrel Mob drug dealing.
Police searched nine houses and arrested 14 people in Marlborough in the culmination of an eight-month police operation targeting the Mongrel Mob.
Aimed at the gang's alleged drug activity, the operation spread from Marlborough to other parts of the country, with arrests in six police districts, a spokeswoman said.
It focused on serious drug offending by Mob members in Blenheim, Picton, Nelson and Hokitika, but houses were also searched in Lower Hutt, Auckland, Havelock North, Palmerston North and Christchurch.
Police said 250 charges were laid against a total of 22 people and further charges were likely.
The spokeswoman said young children were at home while police searched some of the houses, including pre-school children in Blenheim. Police made three referrals to Child Youth and Family.
More than 40 police officers from Blenheim were involved in the operation, with backup from Nelson and police dog units from Christchurch. A further 60 police officers across the country arrested the eight additional people and searched a further 11 houses.
Seven patched Mongrel Mob members were arrested throughout the country.
Marlborough area commander Inspector Simon Feltham said Blenheim police had been vigilant in monitoring the Mongrel Mob since they arrived in Blenheim.
"Neither police nor the Marlborough community are prepared to tolerate their drug dealing," he said.
"This operation has resulted in the arrest of all of the senior members of this criminal group in Marlborough and it sends a very clear message to their associates that they are not, and never will be, welcome here."
The arrests were a huge result for police in Marlborough, but more so for the community, Mr Feltham said.
"We hope it will put an end to their drug-dealing activity," he said.
"Any time we can remove people dealing in methamphetamine, because of the harm it can cause, is a significant result."
Cannabis grow rooms had been found in Wakamarina, near Havelock, and Hokitika, as well as a clandestine drug laboratory in Auckland.
More than 9 grams of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of dried cannabis, and 24 cannabis plants had been uncovered. A firearm, stolen computers and drug utensils were also found.
About 75 small snaplock plastic bags commonly used to distribute methamphetamine were found at a Nelson house with Mongrel Mob insignia printed on them.
Seven of the 14 people arrested in Marlborough yesterday were held in custody and were scheduled to appear in the Blenheim District Court today. The other seven were released on bail.
The charges include possession and supply of drugs, including methamphetamine, theft and burglary.
The operation was supported by the specialised police unit, the organised and financial crime agency.