26 Aug 2015

Drug bust targets church metres from police HQ

6:21 pm on 26 August 2015

Auckland police have made 16 arrests after investigating an alleged drug ring in the central city, which they say was targeting vulnerable people.

About 80 officers searched addresses in the city centre this morning, as well as at properties in Te Atatu, Ranui and Manurewa.

Police said the operation was aimed at stopping drug dealing around Hobson, Wellesley and Federal Streets in the central business district, which are home to the City Mission, St Matthews in the City and SkyCity.

They said the dealing took place on a wide scale, and was often aimed at vulnerable members of the community and conducted in clear view of the public.

Eight women and eight men have been arrested.

Many of those arrested will appear in the Auckland District Court today, charged with a range of drug-related offences.

Inner city church raided

The vicar of St Matthews in the City, which was raided by police, said one of the clergy had been approached by a drug user and asked if "the shop was open".

Reverend Helen Jacobi said it was worrying that drugs could have been sold inside the church.

She said the drug sellers were preying on people using the City Mission and may have been approaching parishioners.

She said church authorities alerted police to suspicious behaviour in the church's car park.