Millions of dollars worth of cannabis plants related to gang and organised crime have been seized by police in Northland this week.
An investigation into large-scale cannabis cultivation in Northland resulted in the seizure and destruction of 6500 cannabis plants worth an estimated street value of more than $10 million.
Additionally, police restrained around $17 million in property, assets and cash in relation to the second phase of Operation Bush.
Upper North money laundering team officer in charge Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Dunhill said this week sees the termination of Operation Peruvian, launched under the umbrella of Operation Bush.
Both operations have uncovered several “enormous” commercial growth cultivations across the Northland, Waitematā, Auckland City, Counties Manukau and Waikato Districts.
As a result of four search warrants executed this week, six people, aged between 37 and 54, have been arrested in relation to Operation Peruvian and have appeared in the Kaikohe District Court.
Police did not rule out further arrests, restraints, or charges as a result of the operations.
“To date, in relation to both Operation Peruvian and Operation Bush, a total of 34 people have been arrested and are collectively facing more than a hundred charges laid alleging offending across a wide range of serious offences relating to the cultivation and supply of drugs, and money laundering,” Dunhill said.
He said the “significant” seizures and restraint follow months of investigation into an organised crime group and their alleged associates.
Police have been working alongside different agencies regarding a number of foreign nationals arrested during this operation.
Four Vietnamese nationals were arrested by police in a large-scale cannabis bust in Whangārei Heads in January.
In July the Advocate reported police seized millions of dollars worth of assets in a sting on a sophisticated drug dealing and money laundering scheme involving foreign nationals and a kingpin from Waitematā with alleged ties to a Vietnamese organised crime group.
“The cultivation, manufacture, supply and distribution of controlled drugs continues to be a major driver in all serious crimes within our communities,” Dunhill said.
“We will continue to use all available resources to strip assets and wealth from those who have accumulated it through the sale of these illicit substances.”
Police encouraged anyone with information about suspected money laundering and drug dealing in the community to contact them on 105, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.