Teams of police searched six properties in Kaikoura at the same time yesterday and seized guns, drugs and other items of interest, police say.
Senior sergeant Ciaran Sloan, of Blenheim, said the raids were the first phase of a three month operation.
Seven people were arrested and were to appear in the Blenheim District Court today. Further arrests are likely, he said.
Mr Sloan was confident the operation had disrupted a small organised crime group.
Twenty five police from around the Tasman Police District descended on Kaikoura for the operation.
Police searched properties in Ludstone Rd, Beach Rd, Mill Rd and Torquay St.
Police dog handlers and forensics teams were among the officers at the scene in Ludstone Rd, and were seen searching gardens, sheds and houses before removing several bags and boxes. They stayed at one property for about two hours, where they appeared to be speaking to friends of residents of the house.
There was a flurry of activity for most of the afternoon outside the Kaikoura Police Station, where as many as 10 marked and unmarked police cars were parked for several hours. Associates of the people arrested came and went from the police station, and a police truck was loaded up with items, believed to include firearms and cannabis, seized in the raids.
Tasman District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers said the operation was a good example of the ability as a district to move staff around to effectively combat crime.
"We've deployed a big resource to Kaikoura using staff from outside the area to ensure we make a significant dent on organised crime," Superintendent Chambers said.
"I'm hoping these people will pick up on our clear message that we are not tolerating their behaviour in our communities. Our policing focus is on preventing crime and we will be relentless in keeping these groups under the microscope to ensure they are seriously limited in their activities."
This story has been updated from the original version
- The Marlborough Express