Fears mount over armed crime syndicates

Last updated 08:35 03/11/2012

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Police are becoming increasingly concerned about how many organised crime syndicates are arming themselves, Hamilton's commanding officer says.

Hamilton police got more than they bargained for when they stopped a driver during a routine traffic stop on Thursday night and allegedly discovered a multitude of illegal drugs and rifles in his car.

Police discovered two containers of what was believed to be methamphetamine, a bag of "yet to be identified" pills, scales and chemicals when they pulled the 35-year-old man over.

Inspector Greg Nicholls said police stopped the man because they were concerned about his driving, but they were even more concerned when they discovered what was inside his car.

"Officers searching the car discovered one 5.56 calibre M4 type, scoped assault rifle, a high capacity magazine and a large box containing several packets of ammunition," Nicholls said. "In addition two electric soft air BB type rifles were also found that if pointed at someone would certainly appear authentic."

Nicholls said the case highlighted the extent those involved in organised crime and drugs would go to arm themselves.

"We all know the risks drugs pose to our community but when you combine them with this type of weaponry it poses a serious risk not just to the criminals involved and our staff but to the wider community as well."

It was an issue police were becoming increasingly concerned about, he said.

It was only because of the Search and Surveillance Act, which came into effect last month, that police were able to search the man's car to this extent, Nicholls said.

The man appeared in the Hamilton District Court yesterday on five charges including unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of drug utensils and possession of drugs for supply.

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- The Press

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