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Police arrest entire gang in crackdown

Published: 5:08PM Thursday September 01, 2011 Source: ONE News

Police say they have arrested every patched member of the Taranaki branch of the Rebels gang today as they continue to crack down on organised crime.

The Australian gang has been looking to establish itself in New Zealand and set up its first branch in Whangarei earlier this year.

Today's police operation targeted gang members and found evidence of the distribution of methamphetamine, ecstasy, cannabis and BZP in Taranaki and Northland.

A total of 22 people have been arrested after police searched 13 properties in New Plymouth, one in Auckland and seven in Northland.

Charges include conspiracy to supply methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy, cannabis cultivation, drug possession and participation in an organised criminal group.

One high ranking Rebels member was arrested in Northland and charged with unlawful use of a firearm.

Results of search warrants include evidence of two cannabis growing operations at separate New Plymouth addresses - one was in full operation with in excess of 50 cannabis plants.

Eight grams of white powder believed to be BZP was also located in New Plymouth, as was an imitation rifle.

Police in Northland found five stolen computers, cash, more than 18 ounces of cannabis, and small quantities of cannabis oil, three 'point bags' of methamphetamine.

"Back in February we made it clear that we would not tolerate criminal gangs pedalling misery in our communities," said Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann.

"Some have chosen to ignore that message and continue to try and gain a stronghold. If they think we are just going to sit back and let this happen they can think again. We don't want them in New Plymouth; we don't want them in New Zealand."

Before today 17 gang members believed to be associated with the Rebels had been arrested.

The majority of the offences were for conspiring to deal or supply methamphetamine and possession of drug equipment with intent.

Other charges have related to firearms, weapons offences and violence.



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