16 Dec 2014

Major P-lab raid targets organised crime

7:05 pm on 16 December 2014

Northland police say raids on a methamphetamine factory near Whangarei today will be a knock-out blow for organised crime in the region.

Armed police surrounded a rural property at Waiotira early this morning and found the industrial-scale lab they said was capable of producing $3 million worth of the drug also known as "P" in a week.

Fourteen people were arrested, including three patched members of the Headhunters gang.

Drugs seized from the Mercedes last month.

Drugs seized from the Mercedes last month. Photo: NZ POLICE

Detective Inspector Kevin Burke said police believed the factory was co-ordinated by and for the Headhunters gang and may have been supplying markets from Auckland to the South Island.

"As a result of this investigation, we believe this has gone a long way to dismantling organised crime in Northland and a result of the scale of the operation, it'll have ongoing effects throughout New Zealand," he said.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good, from the organised crime unit, warned that while the Headhunters have been the target of police attention this year, there were several other organised criminal groups running similar operations.

"They are well-organised, well-resourced and seemingly highly profitable," he said.

Today's raids follow the arrest last month of two teenage Headhunter gang associates who were found driving a Mercedes with $2.5 million worth of meth bound for the Auckland market.

Mr Good said the Whangarei raids were also the culmination of months of covert police work to break up a methamphetamine manufacture and distribution ring operating across the upper North Island.

Stolen weapons were found during a raid in Waikato last week.

Stolen weapons were found during a raid in Waikato last week. Photo: NZ POLICE

Thirty-eight members and associates of the Headhunters had been arrested since May, he said.

In that time, police have seized drugs worth $4.2 million, $2.4 million in cash and more than $9 million worth of assets including a Ferrari, a Porsche, a Maserati and a 30-foot launch.

Last week, Counties Manukau and Waikato police raided the Miranda home of a senior patched member of the Headhunters. The found a Taser, a cache of stolen weapons and 5000 rounds of ammunition stolen from a Bucklands Beach gun collector in June.

Today's raids on the Waiotira and other properties in Whangarei uncovered a second, smaller meth lab hidden under a house, two shotguns and a small quantity of drugs.

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