A senior Mongols motorcycle gang member arrested after police said he was on the run for nearly a year has appeared in court.
The 27-year-old man, who was granted interim name suppression this morning, was arrested at a Waipara address in North Canterbury just after 4.30pm yesterday.
Detective Inspector Paul Newman of the police national organised crime group said in a statement last night that a MSSA (military-style semi-automatic) firearm was also found at the address.
The man first had warrants for his arrest issued in Auckland last May.
He was wanted for serious drug-dealing, firearms and money-laundering allegations relating to Operation Nestegg, Newman said.
The man appeared from custody at Christchurch District Court this morning facing a raft of charges, including participating in an organised criminal group, money laundering, selling or supplying methamphetamine, domestic assault and firearms charges.
Three new charges allege firearms offences at Waipara between April 5 and yesterday.
He appeared from custody via an audio visual link this morning.
A large number of supporters stood in the court’s public gallery for the duration of the man’s appearance, signalling to him, and saying “miss you brother”.
Auckland-based defence counsel Maria Pecotic appeared for him via audio visual link and made an application for interim name suppression.
He was remanded in custody without plea to reappear at Auckland District Court on May 28 – and is due back at Christchurch District Court on June 14.
Judge Quentin Hix granted interim name suppression until his next appearance, saying it would need to be fully argued at that time.
“Police will continue to target organised criminal groups and those who are in possession of unlawful firearms,” Newman said yesterday.
“We want to ensure our communities are resilient and feel safe.
“Police welcomes information from anyone who has concerns about organised crime, illicit drugs, or the illegal possession of firearms in their community.
“They are encouraged to report online at 105.police.govt.nz, call Police on 105, or report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-nz.org.”
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