Mongols MC raids: Gang leaders arrested, guns, drugs and other assets seized as police sweep in on 'well-established criminal group'

Molotov cocktails, ammunition, drugs, and cash have been seized in a major sting involving a notorious gang.

The senior hierarchy of the Mongols have been arrested as part of Operation Silk, which involved more than 100 police staff executing search warrants at 10 properties across the Bay of Plenty region on Tuesday.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams says at least 228 charges have been laid against 10 people.

"The majority of this Bay of Plenty gang were deported from Australia and were from one of the Bandidos chapters in Brisbane.

"This operation sends a clear message that the behaviour of these gangs will not be tolerated in New Zealand.

"What this investigation will allege is that this organised crime group was involved in the sale and supply of methamphetamine and cocaine on a commercial level into the Bay of Plenty as well as across the North Island, causing significant harm to our communities."

Police say at least six shootings in the area were also linked to the motorcycle gang.

It was revealed last month the police had used New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown to target several gangs, including the Mongols.

Williams said the ongoing violence between organised crime groups was all about controlling a share of the drug market.

These gangs have made it clear they will use violence to protect their share of the illegal market, he said.

"This includes not only arming up but a very clear propensity to use these firearms and commit other violent acts such as arson, serious assaults, aggravated robberies, and serious violence," Williams said.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Stuart Nash expects the arrests to have a significant impact on the Bay of Plenty.

He said the operation has averted potential attacks on rival gangs, which may have caught up innocent bystanders.

"I commend the excellent work of police organised crime specialists, the Armed Offenders Squad, asset recovery teams, and staff from Corrections."