Police have so far today arrested three people as part of Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP).
Op Notus II is the second phase of a long running investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and distribution of methamphetamine and cannabis in EBOP.
Search warrants were executed this morning at properties in Kawerau, Whakatane, Te Teko and Whakatane.
The three people arrested so far – two men and a woman – are facing a range of charges, including possession for supply and supplying methamphetamine and cannabis, and firearms-related offending.
They will appear in Whakatane District Court this afternoon.
Operation Notus launched in October 2017 and revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob were involved in the commercial distribution of methamphetamine and cannabis to the community.
As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were restrained in March 2018.
“This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP, says Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller.
“We took the opportunity to encourage users of methamphetamine to engage with support and treatment services to help them break the downward cycle of addiction.
“We know that methamphetamine is a major driver of crime, with users often resorting to crime in order to fund their addiction.
“In the three months following the termination of Op Notus, Kawerau was a much safer place.
“There was a 34% reduction in overall crime, compared to the three months prior, including; a 50% decrease in violent offending, a 41% decrease in dishonesty offending and a 34% decrease in antisocial and drug related offending.
“This was a great result, but we know that there is still a lot of work to be done to make our community even safer.
“We have been monitoring the situation in Kawerau over the past six months and today’s arrests show we will continue targeting anyone who preys on this town through the distribution and supply of illicit drugs.
“We are also focused on working with Iwi and our partner agencies to offer advice and support services to victims of this group, and those who have been identified as methamphetamine users,” says Senior Sergeant Miller.
Police urges anyone affected by methamphetamine addiction to seek help through the Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 or free text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor.
We encourage anyone with information regarding the supply of methamphetamine to contact their local Police or Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.