New Zealand's organised crime groups becoming more sophisticated, warns gang expert

An expert is warning New Zealand should prepare to see more sophisticated drug operations similar to what the Australian Comancheros are accused of taking part in.

On Thursday, Auckland police seized about $4 million in assets from the New Zealand branch of the Australian biker gang, the Comancheros.

Police allege the group intended to import both methamphetamine and ephedrine, and were laundering money with the help of a lawyer and an accountant.

Gang expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert says the drug trade is quickly becoming more sophisticated and the involvement of white-collar professionals wasn't surprising.

"It is something that we should probably get used to as the sophistication of drug syndicates or networks become bigger. They are going to need to hide their income," he told Newshub.

"The increase in sophistication is something the police will certainly have to be aware of an on top of as well."

There are believed to be about 20 members of the Comancheros in New Zealand - both locals and deportees from Australia.

"They were made up of people who had been kicked out of Australia through their immigration laws. What we are seeing is a very significant example of the impact that that legislations is having," said Dr Gilbert.

National manager of the Financial Crime Group, Iain Chapman, said the gang used social media to market themselves as a high-class crime empire - something many organised crime groups are doing to attract customers and recruits.

As well as two properties and a number of luxury vehicles, police also seized $60,000 in cash, a loaded pistol and a military-style semi-automatic pistol grip shotgun and ammunition.

Phase one of the operation into the Comancheros was carried out on February 12, when six people were arrested across New Zealand and Fiji and 50kg of cocaine was seized.

More arrests are expected in the coming days.