Armed police are searching Nelson properties in the hunt for a Richmond man wanted on drug offences.
Police have a warrant for Terry Jones' arrest and today searched an Upper Moutere property. They believe he is still in the area.
Detective Inspector Paul Borrell said police searched a number of addresses in the Nelson Bays in recent days.
"We believe Jones is desperate to avoid being caught," he said.
"My team is very motivated to locate him and it is only a matter of time before we catch up with him.
"We are confident he had been at the address we searched today, however he had gone prior to our arrival."
Jones, 44, is wanted in relation to $400,000 of drugs, as well as drug manufacturing equipment, cash, and a firearm police found in a Nelson storage unit.
Drugs, cash and assets worth more than $12 million have been seized as a result of the nine-month inquiry, dubbed Operation Genoa, which spanned Auckland, Waikato and the top of the South Island.
Police suspected the crime circle involved a partnership between the Red Devils and the Head Hunters.
"I would caution anyone found to be harbouring, or actively assisting Jones to evade police, that they could well face criminal charges themselves," Borrell said.
Anyone with information about Jones should contact police immediately. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers (0800 555 111).