The officer in charge of Operation Mastiff, Senior Sergeant Leigh Jenkins, Ashburton sub-area commander, said a series of search warrants in the area this week had dealt a severe blow to the methamphetamine trade and the people involved.
Among those arrested is a man who faces more than 60 charges of supplying methamphetamine.
More than 100 officers from Ashburton, Christchurch and Timaru took part in the operation, including members of the Armed Offenders Squad, Police Dog Units and Specialist Search Group.
Jenkins said: “It’s really important – we’ve arrested local people who have done so much harm to our community. We have dealt a blow to organized crime and gang activity in our region. »
The operation, dubbed Operation Mastiff, is part of Operation Cobalt, which targets and disrupts illegal gang activity across New Zealand.
Since Tuesday, 29 warrants have been executed at addresses in Ashburton.
Jenkins said the items seized included drugs with a likely street value of over $70,000 – including methamphetamine, cannabis, LSD and other restricted drugs – nearly $20,000 in cash, two shotguns, a crossbow, seven imitation firearms, ammunition and a number of other restricted weapons and prohibited firearm parts.
Jenkins said those arrested are all residents of Ashburton and primarily associated with the Mongrel Mob, while others have ties to the Mangu Kaha, Headhunters and Highway 61 gangs.
“As this operation has shown, we can – and will – tap into the resources of our district colleagues in Christchurch and Timaru to hold these people to account,” Jenkins said.
A small number of power tools, believed to have been stolen in a burglary in the city, were also seized as part of the Operation Mastiff search warrants.
“I’m confident these arrests will go a long way to ensuring that our community is safe and feels safe,” Jenkins said.
A 45-year-old man faces 67 charges, including 61 charges of offering to supply methamphetamine and two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was remanded in custody to reappear in Christchurch District Court on September 19.
A 50-year-old man faces 26 charges of possession for supplying methamphetamine and nine of possession of a Class C drug. He was remanded in custody to reappear in Christchurch District Court on September 19.
A 28-year-old man faces nine counts, including six counts of supplying cannabis and one of conspiring to sell methamphetamine.
A 40-year-old man faces nine counts of conspiring to sell methamphetamine.
A 53-year-old man faces seven charges of possession of a Class A drug and one charge of breaching a protective order while in possession of an imitation firearm.
A total of 18 people face approximately 165 charges, mostly related to the supply of methamphetamine.
Most are expected to appear in court in Ashburton or Christchurch in the coming days, Jenkins said.