A police crackdown targeting violent gang warfare between the Head Hunters and Mongols has culminated with the arrests of 19 people.
The operation focused on an ongoing series of events this year involving members from the rival gangs. The gang violence, which is believed to have began around April 5, saw serious incidents unfold including arson and drive-by shootings at associated properties.
Police targeted several locations including Head Hunters gang pads in Mt Wellington and Browns Bay and Mongols premises in Silverdale and Murrays Bay in north Auckland.
The most high-profile incident occurred on April 15, where shots were fired inside the foyer of the Sofitel Hotel in Auckland's CBD.
Detective Inspector Kevin McNaughton said while it is fortunate no one was injured in the escalating gang war, the incidents were "extremely serious" and posed a "significant risk" to members of the public.
"An investigation team involving a number staff from across Tamaki Makaurau, Northland and the National Organised Crime Group has been working tirelessly over the last two months to identify all individuals involved in these series of incidents and hold them to account," Det Insp McNaughton said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The investigation also uncovered a number of people who were allegedly assisting the offenders involved who were actively attempting to avoid police."
A total of 19 arrests were made over the course of the investigation, with the latest arrest occurring last week. All 19 alleged offenders are now facing charges before the courts.
"Three firearms were also located and seized as part of the operation, including a prohibited semi-automatic rifle and a sawn-off shotgun, as well a significant quantity of ammunition and improvised explosive devices," Det Insp McNaughton continued.
"Seven people who are members or associates with the Mongols gang have been charged with a range of serious offences, including participation in an organised criminal group, dangerous act with a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson and possession of firearms and explosives, and drug dealing offences.
"Six members of the Head Hunters gang have been charged with numerous offences, including participation in an organised criminal group, dangerous act with a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of firearms and drug dealing offences.
"Further charges are possible."
A further six associates of the Head Hunters were charged with accessory after the fact in relation to allegedly helping an offender evade police following the Sofitel shooting.
The warfare "posed a serious risk to the safety of the wider public", McNaughton added.
"Police will not tolerate gun violence and serious gang offending in our community," he continued. "This was a complex investigation involving a large number of offenders and I want to acknowledge the dedication of our staff who have been committed to identifying and apprehending everyone allegedly involved in these series of incidents.
"Gun violence has no place in our society and we hope the conclusion of this operation reassures the public that dangerous and serious criminal acts by gangs will not be tolerated by police."