Police arrest 25, find 11,000 cannabis plants, 29 guns in major gang operation

Two stolen vehicles and a stolen motorbike were also recovered.
Two stolen vehicles and a stolen motorbike were also recovered. Photo credit: Police.

Police have arrested 25 people and found more than 11,000 cannabis plants in a major operation aimed at gangs.

Armed police have raided 39 properties across Bay of Plenty.

During the operation 29 guns were seized, along with more than 80 grams of methamphetamine and $7610.

Two stolen vehicles and a stolen motorbike were also recovered. 

Operation Emerald targeted the large-scale cultivation of drugs, which provided a large income stream for gangs, District Commander Superintendent Tim Anderson said.

Property searches stretched over five days, he said.

"The Greazy Dogs gang will be feeling particularly hard hit, with more than 2500 plants removed from paddocks surrounding their gang pad and residential properties in Tauranga," he said/

Police have laid several drug and firearm-related charges, and more charges and arrests were expected. 

Some of the accused have already appeared in court.

During the operation, 11,372 cannabis plants ranging from seedlings to plants 2 metres high were sprayed or destroyed.

Police recovered 729 plants at one Western Bay of Plenty address, 1.6kg of harvested cannabis at a Taupō property, and more than 4kg of edibles at an Eastern Bay of Plenty address.

Operation Emerald alone last year prevented $126.8m in social harm to communities and prevented gangs and organised crime from earning $128m. 

The 2022/23 operation resulted in 35,097 plants being seized or destroyed, along with 93.452kg of cannabis head and plant material, with a combined street value of $128m.