A woman has been charged and firearms, ammunition and a taser have been seized following a joint investigation into imported handguns entering Australia.
After working with United States law enforcement partners, ABF officers seized three firearms and a quantity of ammunition in packages shipped from the United States.
The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for further investigation, which resulted in two search warrants being executed yesterday (21 January) in the Melbourne suburb of Preston and the rural Victorian town of Kinglake.
Police will allege searches of the properties uncovered various weapons, including three unregistered long-arm firearms, one air rifle, one sawn off rifle, two tasers, a silencer and a flick knife. A small number of cannabis plants and approximately $4,000 cash were also seized during the warrants.
A 49-year-old American woman was arrested and charged with import offences, namely three counts of import prohibited Tier 2 goods without approval in Australia, contrary to section 233BAB of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).
She was scheduled to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court today (Friday 22 January 2016).
A 47-year-old Victorian man was also charged with six possession offences resulting from the search warrants. They include:
- Four counts of possess a category A or B longarm that was not registered, contrary to section 6A (1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (VIC);
- One count of possess a general category of handgun that was not registered; contrary to section 7B of the Firearms Act 1996 (VIC);
- One count of being a non-prohibited person did possess a silencer or prescribed item without a permit contrary to section 57 (1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (VIC).
He was bailed to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday 25 January 2016. These offences carry a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.
AFP Coordinator of Crime Operations, Superintendent Ingrid Kuster, said the information received from US authorities was vital in carrying out the arrests.
“Attempting to import weapons into Australia is a serious offence, it carries penalties of ten years imprisonment,” Superintendent Kuster said.
“Law enforcement and border protection authorities will continue to work together with our international counterparts to stop these illegal firearms entering our community and minimise the impact these dangerous weapons could have on the community at large.”
ABF Regional Commander Don Smith said Australia’s law enforcement agencies will continue to work with international partners to ensure illegal firearms don’t reach our shores or our streets.
“Preventing the importation of illegal firearms is a priority. This operation shows the great results that are being achieved through cross-agency collaboration.”