Organised CrimeSmuggling

Man charged as part of joint agency investigation into drug and firearm importations

A man has been charged as part of a joint-agency investigation into the alleged importation of illegal firearm parts and drug manufacturing equipment in the NSW’s Central Tablelands.

In late June, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted a consignment from Japan containing a BB gun and pellets – a prohibited import.

A total of ten packages were detected by ABF officers, which had arrived either via air cargo or International mail, from Hong Kong, China, Germany and Japan between June and September.

During this time, the matter was referred to the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) and Western Region Enforcement Squad commenced inquiries.

Further packages, which were destined for Australia, were seized in the United States and referred to US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to conduct inquiries.

As such, NSWPF, ABF and HSI commenced a joint investigation last month, which also included inquiries into the importation of items associated with the manufacture of illicit drugs.

Following extensive investigations, NSWPF officers attached to Western Region Enforcement Squad and investigators from ABF and HSI executed a NSW search warrant and a customs search and seizure warrant at a home at South Bathurst just after 6am today (Wednesday 23 September 2020).

The operation was also assisted by Chifley Police District, the Dog Unit, and Western Operations Support Group.

On entry, investigators spoke with the 36-year-old male resident, who was in the company of two young children, before a loaded .45 calibre handgun was seized from an adjacent room.

A child at risk report has since been submitted to Family and Community Services.

The man was served with Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Orders before being arrested and taken to Bathurst Police Station.

After investigators uncovered a suspicious substance inside the home, assistance was requested from Fire and Rescue NSW’s HAZMAT to render the area safe.

Specialist officers from the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit and the Drug and Firearms Squad’s Chemical Operations Unit attended and determined the substance was inert, and the search resumed.

The man has been charged with possess unregistered firearm-not prohibited firearm/pistol, not keep firearm safely-not prohibited firearm/pistol, possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority, and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit.