Eleven men have been arrested and several guns seized after 50 kilograms of cocaine was discovered at the Port of Tauranga in early February.

A joint investigation by police and Customs led to the discovery of the shipment in early February — which arrived in New Zealand from Brazil.

Following the cocaine’s discovery, four men, aged between 22 and 36, were arrested.

Multiple search warrants were later carried out by police throughout Auckland and Tauranga, with seven more arrests made.

Among those arrested were two men, aged 50 and 19, who are believed to be “senior members of a well-known gang”.

Another search warrant in South Auckland led to the seizure of three semi-automatic guns and two fully automatic rifles.

“A 50-year-old male was arrested at this address and was also found in possession of a loaded .22 calibre pistol,” Detective Inspector Tom Gollan from police’s national organised crime group said.

Two more men, aged 33 and 37, were arrested in February after two search warrants in Tauranga. Gollan said the alleged offenders are also believed to be members of the same well-known gang.

Gollan said “extensive preparations” had been undertaken by the group to recover the drug shipment.

“This included the purchase of walkie-talkie radios, an army ‘gillie’ suit, bolt cutters, gloves, security-branded T-shirts, and high-visibility gear,” he said.

The .22 calibre pistol seized by police after 50kg of cocaine was found at the Port of Tauranga.

“These methods, combined with the alleged possession of illegal firearms, demonstrate the lengths criminal enterprises are willing to go to avoid detection and import illicit drugs into New Zealand.”

All 11 men face charges related to the importation, conspiracy, and possession for supply of cocaine.

“Two of the men are also facing charges relating to the possession of firearms, and police are not ruling out further charges as more information comes to light,” Gollan said.

All the alleged offenders will appear in the Auckland District Court “in due course”.

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