7 arrested in operation targeting firearms in Hawke's Bay, Taupō

Source: 1News

Seven people have been arrested and firearms, drugs and cash have been seized following searches in Hawke's Bay and Taupō on Wednesday.

It follows a two-month investigation focusing on the recruitment of legitimate firearms licence holders to purchase firearms on behalf of - either directly or indirectly - known criminal entities, Detective Inspector Albie Alexander said in a statement.

The group will face charges of unlawfully supplying firearms, participating in an organised criminal group, attempting to pervert the course of justice, supplying methamphetamine and cultivating cannabis.

The operation is part of the New Zealand Police strategy to address gun violence in our communities.

The National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) have been working proactively with licensed firearms dealers, examining records to identify potential diversion and those within the licensed firearms community who are diverting firearms into the hands of criminals, particularly gangs, Alexander said.

“This type of offending undermines the wellbeing of our communities by creating significant social harm," Alexander said.

"We have a commitment to disrupting and dismantling networks identified and will continue to target those who illegally accumulate assets and wealth through the sale and supply of illegal drugs and firearms.

"No responsible firearms owner wants to see firearms in the hands of criminals."

The operation is ongoing and police have not ruled-out further arrests.