Drugs, guns and cash seized as police anti-gang operation ramps up

Source: 1News

Following a sweep of arrests on Wednesday night, Northland police are warning gang members tied to the recent surge of firearm violence "we will deploy as much resource as necessary to... hold offenders to account."

Figures show they're dealing with nearly double the number of suicide attempts and threats than they were six years ago.

According to a statement from police, Northland officers seized a raft of firearms, ammunition, and drugs in five searches of four properties and a vehicle between Kerikeri and Mangonui.

They discovered $3000 in cash, a large amount of cannabis, methamphetamine, ammunition and five firearms.

Four men have been arrested and will appear in Kaikohe District Court.

READ MORE: Gang violence - Police operation to roll out nationwide

Police say they're "stepping up their enforcement and disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country" in preparation for the nationwide roll out of Operation Cobalt.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told 1News the nationwide operation is an "extension and broadening" of Auckland-based Operation Tauwhiro, which focused on seizing the illegal firearms held by Killer Beez and Tribesmen gang members.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Dalzell says Northland police are also warning that they'll take "every opportunity to target those involved in recent gang and firearm-related violence."

"That means conducting search warrants and making arrests for any identifiable offences.

"We will continue to have a highly visible presence across Northland and treat any further incidents extremely seriously."

Two people were also arrested on Wednesday morning, following a string of burglaries across the Far North.

A 30-year-old woman was charged after a police search of a Hikurangi property uncovered a .22 calibre rifle, 205 rounds of ammunition, a kilogram of cannabis, and stolen property.

A second person wanted by police fled from officers, after being spotted driving a stolen vehicle near Whangarei.

Officers gave chase with the help of the Northland Armed Offenders Squad, eventually forcing the vehicle to a stop and arresting the driver.