This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force.
A man from Sydney’s outer northern suburbs has been charged with illegally importing firearm components as part of a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The 44-year-old Berowra man was arrested at Sydney International Airport yesterday (9 August 2019) after returning from a trip to China. He is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court on Saturday, 10 August 2019.
It will be alleged in court that the man imported three packages containing two barrels and a frame for a Sig Sauer handgun, upper and lower receivers for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, and triggers for a firearm.
Enquiries by police have established that there is no ongoing threat to the community.
The first two packages were detected on 26 July 2019, when ABF officers at the Sydney International Mail Facility inspected a consignment from the United States.
The packages were declared as containing car parts, but when opened, were found to contain the components for the Sig Sauer and AR-15 weapons. The detection was referred to the AFP and the joint investigation launched.
On 1 August 2019, another mail consignment from the United States was identified by ABF officers. It was also declared as containing car parts, but examination found it to contain two triggers and an upper receiver that could have been used in semi-automatic pistols.
A search warrant was executed at the man’s Berowra residence on Thursday, 8 August 2019, while another search warrant was executed at a Mt White premises that was believed to be associated with him.
A search of an additional Berowra premises linked to the man was conducted on Friday, 9 August 2019, where a number of other firearms – including two .22 rifles, an air rifle and a largely assembled glock pistol – and components were located. It is suspected that some of these items may have been illegally acquired.
AFP Detective Superintendent Nathan Barron, National Response Operations, said while there is no ongoing threat to the community, further investigation would reveal the full extent of the alleged criminal activity.
“The importation of components for semi-automatic and dangerous weapons is always treated seriously by law enforcement because of the danger these weapons present to the community, and for the other criminal activity they enable,” he said.
“Our investigators have not identified any links to organised crime or instances where the alleged offender has on-sold firearms or parts, but we will continue our enquiries to determine the true purpose and extent of these illegal importations.”
ABF Regional Investigations NSW Superintendent Garry Low said it was another example of the vigilance and experience of ABF officers preventing dangerous items coming through the border.
“Our officers have incredibly sophisticated technology at their disposal to find items such as these, which pose a real threat to community safety. I’d like to acknowledge their skill in detecting these items and their work in protecting the Australian public,” Superintendent Low said.
“From these initial detections, through our information sharing and close relationships with our law enforcement partners, we’ve been able to form another successful joint operation and disrupt this criminal activity.”
The man was charged with three counts of importing Tier 2 goods without lawful authorisation, the contrary to section 233BAB (5) of the Customs Act 1901. He was also charged with one count of possess more than three unregistered firearms without a licence, contrary to section 51D(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW). The maximum penalty for both of these offences is 10 years imprisonment.
NOTE: Footage of this investigation is available here: