16 arrests, $1 million in assets seized after Hawke's Bay Mongrel Mob pads raided by police

Sixteen people have been arrested - including one of the Mongrel Mob's most senior members - after a coordinated sting on gang pads in Hawke's Bay.

The Hawke's Bay organised crime unit executed search warrants at a number of local properties on Tuesday morning, over alleged offences relating to the sale of meth and cannabis by an organised crime group.

Most of those arrested were patched Mongrel Mob members or their associates, police say - including one who was the leader of one of the gang's Hawke's Bay chapters.

The majority of them will appear in Hastings District Court on Wednesday, charged with "a number of serious drug and firearms charges", according to police. The alleged offenders range in age from 18 to 46.

Among the items seized from properties was meth, cannabis, cash and 10 firearms, while a house, vehicles, motorbikes, and a further $400,000 in cash has been restrained.

Police estimate it has seized approximately $1 million in assets.

The warrants executed on Tuesday were related to the recent arrests of three senior Mongrel Mob members in Auckland and Flaxmere, Detective Inspector Mike Foster says.

About $315,000 in cash was located and seized in that sting, and each of the men were charged with conspiracy to supply meth. 

"This morning's warrants are the culmination of an ongoing operation by the organised crime unit into the sale of methamphetamine and cannabis throughout Hawke's Bay," says Det Insp Foster.

"Organised crime is all about money. Attacking the profits of organised criminal groups is a key part of our strategy to deter and disrupt their operations, and combat the illegal activities they're involved in."

The latest crackdown comes after New Zealand Police revealed on Monday that it had made 93 arrests and seized $4.4 million in an organised crime sting across alert levels 3 and 4.

Those arrests have resulted in more than 250 charges, most of which relate to the manufacture and supply of meth, supply of cannabis and MDMA, possession of firearms and ammunition, and breaching court bail.

Gangs do "considerable harm" to communities, Det Foster says.

"They are focused on making money through illegal activity and prey on the most vulnerable members of our community to do so," he says.

"Just how little regard this group has for our community was again demonstrated during lockdown, as they continued with their illegal activities, with no care or concern for the very real risks their activities posed."

Det Foster encourages anyone with information about the sale and supply of illegal substances to contact local police on 105 or anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.