ABF seizes illicit guns, drugs in Tasmania

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in Tasmania are stopping illegal drugs and weapons getting into the state, with more than 2,000 prohibited items detected between 1 January 2022 and 1 November 2022.

The restricted and prohibited goods which ABF officers have discovered at the Australian border destined for Tasmania include illegal drugs, firearms and weapons, illegal tobacco and pharmaceuticals.

Many of the detections occur at Tasmania’s airports and seaports.

In October, ABF officers in Tasmania took part in a national week of action targeting illegal guns.

The Operation Athena crackdown on illicit firearms saw 86 people arrested and 523 firearms seized as part of a week of action involving multiple law enforcement agencies across the country.

In Tasmania, ABF officers and police worked together on the operation.

A property in southern Tasmania was searched on 24 October which resulted in the seizure of seven firearms, including four gel blaster replica firearms.

A man has been charged with possessing unregistered firearms, failing to ensure safe keeping of firearm, mailing firearm, firearm parts and ammunition into Tasmania and possessing a firearm without a licence.

A property in southern Tasmania was searched resulting in the seizure of 12 firearms (including 10 gel blaster replica firearms) and a quantity of ammunition.

A man has been charged with possessing unregistered firearms, failing to ensure safe keeping of firearm and ammunition, possessing firearm and ammunition without a licence, altering construction of a firearm and cultivating and possessing cannabis.

A joint investigation between the ABF and Tasmania Police was launched after a 15kg cocaine seizure at Bell Bay near Georgetown.

ABF officers received intelligence resulting in the inspection of a shipping container which had arrived from Sydney.

A search was conducted which led to 15 individually wrapped packages of cocaine being discovered.

Acting Inspector Regional Operations Tasmania Jesse Turner said the ABF and its law enforcement partners work together to keep dangerous drugs and illegal weapons off Tasmanian streets. 

“No matter how criminals attempt to conceal and move their illicit goods, ABF officers have the skills, technology and the resources to find them and track down the people who are attempting to bring them in,” Acting Inspector Turner said.

“Our partnerships continue to disrupt criminal syndicates attempting to bring drugs and illegal weapons into the country.

“Organised crime syndicates will try to evade border controls by hiding illicit drugs in a variety of ways, including manipulating people to do their bidding. 

“The number of detections we have had in Tasmania this year sends a clear message to organised crime – we are aware of your methodologies in your attempts to import harmful, illicit substances – and they will not work.”