Luxury cars seized: Rolls-Royce Wraith, Range Rovers taken in gang raid
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It's always fascinating to witness what falls free when law enforcement grab gangs by the proverbial and hold them upside down.
One of this week's biggest stories has been the Auckland Comancheros gang raids. Just yesterday, a total of 80 police armed with 10 search warrants raided various properties across Auckland; arresting numerous gang members and seizing $3.7million in assets as part of 'Operation Nova'.
These assets included outright properties, weapons, $60,000 in cash, and — naturally — cars.
The jewel in the seized-car crown was the pictured Rolls-Royce Wraith. Released in 2013, the Wraith comes fitted with a 6.5-litre twin-turbo V12 that spits out 465kW of power and 800Nm of torque (although none of that was being utilised when it was getting towed off the premises).
New, the big Roller would've set a buyer back at least $475,000 — although a few ticks of the options box would push that value over $500,000 quite easily.
Beyond the Wraith, there were also three Range Rovers seized (including the white example pictured above), plus four V-Rod Harley Davidsons. The V-Rods were custom models, featuring gold plating and pin-striping.
"These are really significant assets," said police financial crime group national manager Iain Chapman.
"They're status symbols that a gang would choose to use as a sphere of influence to entice younger people to join that gang. So by removing these types of assets, we're removing the desire to join these gangs.
"I want to make it really clear that if you in your professional capacity choose to enable an organised crime group to flourish through laundering of their funds, that you can expect […] full and robust attention from police.
"We just want the community to remember that behind that is an immense amount of suffering. While they deal those drugs, those people and their families are suffering from addiction."
The Comancheros attracted scrutiny namely for allegedly importing methamphetamine into the country, as well connections to the Sinaloa cartel and the gang's position as being largely made up of people deported from Australia on 'character grounds'. It's the second bout of recent airplay for the gang, following the fatal shooting of Mahmoud 'Mick' Hawi last week in Sydney.
"The reality is that most of our gangs across the country are dealing in these drugs for the profit," said Detective Superintendent Greg Williams.
"And we're seeing a number of international groups - in this case the Sinaloa cartel was also involved - we are seeing a number of these international partners wanting to send the drugs down here to sell."