Two arrests add to gang drug bust

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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Two further people have been arrested as part of Operation Crimson, a 10-month drugs operation with links to the Road Knights gang.

A male and female from Balclutha were arrested on Thursday.

Seventeen people have been arrested as a result of the operation.

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said the arrests were a direct result of Operation Crimson, a 10-month joint Invercargill and Southern District Police drug operation targeting the Invercargill-based Road Knights motorcycle gang.

However, Mr Inglis said it was not the end of the operation and police would continue to investigate information they had received into organised crime in the south.

Police last week seized $160,000 of drugs and hundreds and thousands of dollars of property including seven houses - five in Invercargill, one in Roxburgh and one in Moa Creek - and two motorbikes.

The property was restrained under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.

Police would continue to monitor gang activity in the south.

"It's always a worry a rival gang may fill the void. Southland police will be monitoring that closely," he said.

The Road Knights and Mongrel Mob had established a presence in Invercargill but the city was not a haven for gangs, Mr Inglis said.

"It's no different from anywhere else in the country," he said.

People were attracted to gangs because it "seemed cool" and "they can be tough" within a group, he said.

Seizing property was just as important as arresting anyone involved in organised crime, Mr Inglis said.

"We don't want people to go to prison for a few years and then come out and still have all their assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from ill-gotten gains sitting there."

Mr Inglis said he hoped crime rates would drop in the city.

"There is no doubt burglaries and property crime are associated with criminal gangs," he said.

Southern Area Commander Inspector Lane Todd said yesterday, while it was early days, he was confident the operation targeting the gang would reduce crime rates.

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