Mongrel Mob, Head Hunters, Comancheros gang members arrested, $3.7 million in assets seized in Operation Trojan Shield

Source: 1News

New Zealand police have arrested 35 people and laid more than 900 charges as part of the “world’s most sophisticated law enforcement action” against organised crime. 

Among those arrested were “senior members” of the Waikato Comancheros, Waikato Mongrel Mob and Head Hunters who were considered “among the key leaders of organised crime groups” in the country, National Organised Crime group director Greg Williams said.

“A number of other people” were yet to be located, he added. 

The crackdown saw police seize $3.7 million in assets, 20 ounces of methamphetamine, large bags of cannabis, kilograms of iodine, four firearms and numerous mobile phones. At the border, 8.6 kilograms of methamphetamine was also seized.  

They also seized 14 vehicles, including two marine vessels, and an estimated $1 million in cash. 

This morning, police revealed it executed 37 search warrants at about 4pm yesterday in the Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Central and Wellington districts as part of Operation Trojan Shield.

The operation saw major enforcement action in more than a dozen countries around the world, including in the US, Australia and Europe. It targeted the importation, sale and supply of methamphetamine, as well as money laundering. 

Williams said Waikato Comancheros and Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom members are alleged to have worked with offshore groups to import large quantities of methamphetamine and MDMA for distribution across New Zealand. 

He said international Comancheros members set up operations in New Zealand and purchased a boat allegedly to meet ships offshore to get the products, and also exchange cocaine for export to Australia. Williams said this never ended up being successful. 

Auckland-based Head Hunters are alleged to have dealt large amounts of methamphetamine, he said.

“New Zealand police, in coordination with international law enforcement agencies, have delivered a massive blow to organised crime,” Williams said.  

Police said those arrested will appear in the Auckland District Court and Hamilton District Court today facing a wide range of serious drug dealing and money laundering offences. 

It comes as the San Diego FBI said it, along with police in Australia in Europe would be speaking about "major law enforcement action" as part of Operation Trojan Shield in press conferences today.

In Germany this morning, police conducted police raids as part of a “sophisticated” international bust co-ordinated by Europol

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported today police tricked those allegedly involved in organised crime to use a supposedly encrypted messaging app AN0M which they had access to, revealing their movements to law enforcement for 18 months. 

Williams said 57 devices in New Zealand had used AN0M, all of them for criminal purposes. He said all of the devices were pre-loaded with AN0M and given to people via intermediaries.