Australian police and border force dismantle illegal firearms operation

“We will not tolerate the import and use of illicit weapons in Australia.”

An AFP and ABF operation has dismantled an illegal firearm parts import scheme and an alleged 3D printed firearm manufacturing operation in western Sydney this week.

On 31 August 2023, AFP and ABF investigators swept across Kemps Creek and Cecil Hills, following an investigation into the importation of a large quantity of illegal firearm parts intended to build operational firearms.

Search warrants were executed at two residential premises, with a man, 32 arrested at a Kemps Creek residence. He was transported to Surry Hills Police Station where he was formally charged and refused bail to appear before Downing Centre Local Court yesterday (1 September 2023).

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ABF Acting Commander Raef McDonough said criminals regularly attempted to circumvent border controls by importing almost innocuous and individual parts that make up a firearm.

“In instances such as this, imported accessories are connected with 3D printed parts, resulting in the manufacture of very dangerous, privately made firearms,” A/g Commander McDonough said.

“Detection and disruption of firearms and firearm parts at the Australian border is one of the most important steps in reducing gun-related offences within our local communities.

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to prevent these weapons from causing harm in the community.”

AFP Detective Superintendent Kristy Cressy said criminals used illicit firearms to protect their interests, intimidate others or commit violence.

“Even when criminals target other criminals in violent confrontations, innocent bystanders risk being hurt or killed,” she said.

“Our priority is keeping Australians safe, which is why we will continue to be relentless in our commitment to working with our partners to target, identify and disrupt endeavours that present a real risk of becoming a weapons supply line to organised crime.

“We will not tolerate the import and use of illicit weapons in Australia.”

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The man was charged with 18 offences, including:

  • Six counts of importing prohibited tier 2 goods, namely firearms parts, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth);
  • One count of possessing more than three unregistered pistols without licence or permit, contrary to section 51D of the Firearms Act 1986 (NSW);
  • One count of possessing digital blueprint for the manufacture of firearms, contrary to section 51F of the Firearms Act 1986 (NSW);
  • One count of manufacturing a pistol without licence/permit, contrary to section 50A of the Firearms Act 1986 (NSW); and
  • Two counts of possessing an unauthorised pistol and firearm, contrary to section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1986 (NSW).

The investigation resulted in the seizure of eight complete firearms, 14 glock pistol receivers, a glock barrel, a collection of firearm parts, and tools used in the manufacture of firearms.

A number of these offences carry a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.