Large methamphetamine lab busted

Last updated 17:15 18/06/2013

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Armed police from around the North Island converged on a Melville address today where they uncovered one of the largest meth labs found in recent years.

Two men aged 51 and 48 were arrested at the Collins Rd address and will appear in the Hamilton District Court tomorrow charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of equipment with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. A charge of unlawful possession of a pistol was also laid.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall of the Hamilton CIB said a combined team of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Auckland police took part in the Waikato-wide sting, dubbed Operation Maxine, that also included properties on McCandlish Rd in Koromatua and Ngahinapouri Rd in Ngahinapouri.

‘‘A large sophisticated methamphetamine laboratory with a significant amount of product was discovered at the Collins Rd address which is expected to take several days to examine and clear," Keall said.

Armed police supported the search teams to ensure the safety of not only police staff and the public, but the offenders as well, according to Keall, who said often those involved in the illicit drugs trade had shown a willingness to arm themselves to protect their illegal investments.

"These concerns were justified during our search of the properties with the discovery of a handgun.’’

Operation Maxine involved members of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty armed offenders squads, Auckland and Wellington based clandestine laboratory team members, ESR forensic specialists, the New Zealand Fire Service and St John Ambulance.

"When you have an investigation such as today's, a variety of investigative options have to be explored to develop a solution that is fit for purpose.

"The arrest today of two men aged 51 and 48-years-old at the Collins Rd address, the discovery of the large clan lab at the same location and the seizure of a large amount of laboratory equipment and chemicals associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine suggests the whole of policing approach is indeed a fit for purpose solution."

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- Waikato Times

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