Hastings' Mayor has praised police efforts after 16 people were arrested and about $1 million in assets was seized in Hawke's Bay.
Police executed search warrants across the region on Tuesday morning as part of an operation by the Hawke's Bay Organised Crime Unit targeting the sale of methamphetamine and cannabis by a crime group.
Patched Mongrel Mob members and their associates, including the leader of the gang in the region, were among those arrested. Meth, cash, cannabis and ten firearms were located, while a house, vehicles, motorcycles and about $400,000 in cash was restrained.
Most of those arrested, ranging in age from 18 to 46, will appear in Hastings District Court on Wednesday facing serious drug and firearms charges.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst told Newshub that the cops' efforts were making the community safer.
"I really support the police's move to crack down on meth, which is an evil drug in society and it is a very addictive plague and affects many people from all backgrounds in life. I think they have done a really good job," she said.
"This drug is a major problem not just in our community but across many communities in New Zealand and any crackdown on supplying this drug to our community is going to be a very positive outcome for everyone."
She says officials are working with community groups to support locals affected by the drug.
"We want positive opportunities for our families. We want people to live healthier and financially-well lives.
"There is a huge opportunity to, post-COVID, to support our communities to support their wellbeing and as a region we are working really, really closely to look at all those opportunities with all our government agencies and all our non-government agencies and community groups to support our community to beat this scourge."
Police say warrants executed on Tuesday also related to the arrests of three senior Mongrel Mob members in Auckland and Flaxmere. Approximately $315,000 cash was located and seized in connection to those arrests. Those three men were jointly charged with conspiracy to supply meth.
"These organised criminal groups cause considerable harm in our communities," said Detective Inspector Foster.
"They are focused on making money through illegal activity and prey on the most vulnerable members of our community to do so.
"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."
Anyone with information about the sale and supply of illegal substances should contact police on 105 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. People impacted by the use of the substances can seek help by ringing a GP, Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797 or texting 8681 to speak to a trained counsellor.