Meth haul 'dents trade'

Last updated 18:45 11/12/2013

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Waikato Police netted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of methamphetamine in the King Country today, and say it has made a significant dent in the illicit drugs trade.

Three properties in the Otorohanga area were searched this morning by members of the Waikato Organised Crime Squad and local Western Waikato officers.

The third property - outside town - was found to house a methamphetamine laboratory.

More than 700g of methamphetamine worth more than $300,000 was discovered on site.

Officers also found a large amount of cash and chemicals, as well as ammunition and several kilos of a cutting agent commonly used in the methamphetamine trade.

Two properties in Gradara Ave were also searched in the early morning, said Crime Services Manager, Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall.

‘‘[Officers] recovered about 500g of cannabis, a point of methamphetamine, ammunition and a small amount of cash at a woman's home while two large cargo bags of methamphetamine manufacturing equipment were found at her son's address next door.’’

At the second address, Police found a small amount of cannabis in a vehicle, and charged a man who showed up with driving while disqualified.

A car-load of gang members also arrived during the search, and told officers they were ‘‘only there to go eeling’’.

As a result of the operation, a 42-year-old woman and 50-year-old man have been jointly charged with manufacturing and possession for supply of methamphetamine, and other associated charges.

A 16-year-old male from one of the addresses has been referred to Youth Aid in relation to possession of cannabis for supply.

The morning’s arrests impacted three generations in one family, and Mr Keall said that was ‘‘one of the real tragedies’’ of the methamphetamine trade.

"The other significant aspect is that though the end product of the illicit drugs trade is often targeted at large urban areas, the manufacturing of such products is often occurring in the rural community.’’

Crime associated with manufacturing could include property or equipment thefts, or damage to waterways and the environment caused by toxic waste products, said Mr Keall.

He urged rural landowners, landlords and members of the community to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity to either the Police or the independent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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