Police say all of the senior members of the Mongrel Mob in Marlborough have been arrested following an eight-month operation targeting gang drug activity in the region.
Twenty search warrants were executed by police on Tuesday, with nine of the addresses in Marlborough. Other searches took place in Lower Hutt, Auckland, Havelock North, Palmerston North and Christchurch.
Officers found a clandestine drug laboratory in Auckland, cannabis grow rooms in Hokitika and Wakamarina and a large amount of plastic bags commonly used for distributing methamphetamine in Nelson.
Police say 22 people were arrested, seven of them patched Mongrel Mob members, and a total of 250 charges have been laid including possession of class A and C drugs for supply. They say further charges and arrests are likely.
Marlborough area commander, Inspector Simon Feltham, says a team of police in Blenheim put in an enormous amount of work gathering evidence about the gang's drug dealing activities and that led to further offenders being identified outside the Marlborough area.
"Since the Mongrel Mob turned up in Marlborough police have been vigilant in monitoring their activities," he says. "Neither police nor the Marlborough community are prepared to tolerate their drug dealing.
"This operation has resulted in the arrest of all of the senior members of this criminal group in Marlborough and it sends a very clear message to their associates that they are not, and never will be, welcome here."
Young children were found at some addresses and police have made three referrals to Child, Youth and Family.
The operation was supported by the Organised and Financial Crime Agency NZ.