Police bust big drug operation
Police say they have cracked a major southern drug operation with links to the Road Knights gang, arresting 20 people and seizing $160,000 of drugs, but investigations are expected to continue for another year.
Details of the operation, dubbed "Operation Crimson", were revealed yesterday.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said police executed 14 search warrants yesterday, "restraining" seven houses throughout the region, including five in Invercargill, one in Moa Creek and one in Roxburgh.
The warrants were executed after months of information gathering and phone intercepts.
Seventeen people were arrested yesterday and are facing about 195 drug and firearm charges.
Many had links to the Road Knights outlaw motorcycle gang, Mr Inglis said.
Eleven people appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday, with six more to appear at a later date.
Those who appeared in court were granted interim name suppression and remanded on bail without plea to reappear on January 28. Mr Inglis said the arrests included people high up in the gang, and several members of one family.
Twenty-eight police officers executed the warrants at 7am, seizing a .22 calibre sawn-off pistol and high-calibre rifle.
Two motorcycles were also seized.
Mr Inglis said the seized houses were located throughout Invercargill, including one "in the vicinity" of Windsor.
The Road Knights' headquarters in Balmoral Drive was searched yesterday but not restrained, he said.
Mr Inglis would not comment on whether police planned to take over the house.
Some of the restrained houses were allegedly used for cannabis growing.
Police found more than 100 plants, Mr Inglis said.
In July and August police, along with Customs officers , also intercepted 1kg of Pentedrone, a version of Ecstasy, with a street value of $125,000.
The drugs were posted to New Zealand from China, Mr Inglis said.
In August a Dunedin man and two Balclutha people were charged.
Despite the arrests, Mr Inglis said it was not the end of the operation and police would continue to investigate information they had received.
- The Southland Times