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Every known patched member of the Rebels gang in Taranaki was locked up today

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Every known patched member of the Rebels gang in Taranaki was locked up today, following a massive police hunt.

A loaded cut down .22 pump action gun, five stolen computers, cash and large amounts of drugs were discovered when police searched 13 properties and 10 vehicles.

Police have charged 22 Rebels members or associates with a number charges relating to different drug-related offences and participating in an organised criminal group.

More than 80 police officers, the Armed Offenders Squad and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand were involved in the arrests.

Police executed search warrants at 13 addresses in New Plymouth, one in Otaki, one in Auckland and seven in Northland. Ten vehicles were also located and searched in New Plymouth.

Police said eight men and two women were arrested in New Plymouth, which included all the known Rebels gang members in the Taranaki district.

A police spokeswoman said they knew of about 70 patched members throughout the country.

Police said they found evidence today of the Rebels members or associates distributing methamphetamine, ecstasy, cannabis and benzylpiperazine (BZP) in Taranaki and Northland.

Two New Plymouth men faced charges of theft of electricity and a high ranking Rebel gang member in Northland was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm - a loaded cut down .22 pump action gun which was allegedly hidden in his home.

Other charges include conspiracy to supply methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy, cannabis cultivation and drug possession.

Documents, which police plan to use in a Proceeds of Crime action, were also located at an address in Otaki, as well as cannabis and cannabis oil.

Today's operation follows the arrests in February of 30 gang associates and members throughout the North Island.

In that operation, Palmerston North man Nathan Bush was one of those arrested.

The patched Rebel gang member pleaded guilty to his involvement in a methamphetamine ring and was jailed for six-and-half-years, police said.

He was also ordered to forfeit a car worth about $3,000, a $10,000 Harley Davidson bike and $15,000 cash.

"Back in February we made it clear that we would not tolerate criminal gangs pedalling misery in our communities," Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann said.

"Some have chosen to ignore that message and continue to try and gain a stronghold. If they think we are just going to sit back and let this happen they can think again."

Since October, and prior to today's operation 17 gang members, believed to be associated to the Rebels, have been arrested for a variety of offences and police warn more arrests are likely.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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