A man from Queensland’s Fraser Coast has been charged with illegally importing firearm components as part of a joint investigation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF) and United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
It will be alleged the 55-year-old Tin Can Bay man imported six packages containing firearm parts from the United States between December 2019 and February 2020 by sending them to Australia whilst he was in North America.
The first package was detected on 24 December 2019, when ABF officers in Melbourne inspected a consignment from the United States.
The package was declared as containing a Christmas present of metal figurines but, when opened, was found to contain firearm components including a handgun frame and receiver, as well as a magazine for a .22 calibre rifle.
The detection was referred to the AFP and the joint investigation launched, with the assistance of AFP officers based in the United States.
On 3 February 2020, another mail consignment from the United States was identified by officers from HSI. It will be alleged this consignment contained a fully functioning .22 calibre handgun.
It will be further alleged the man attempted to import additional pistol parts on his return to Australia from the United States on 6 February 2020. ABF officers at Brisbane Airport located these parts concealed inside a biscuit tin in his luggage.
On 21 February 2020, four further mail consignments addressed to the man from the United States were identified and seized.
Investigators will allege these contained components for a complete Taurus G2 handgun.
Enquiries by police have established that there is no ongoing threat to the community.
The man is scheduled to appear before Brisbane Magistrates Court today (27 March) charged with:
Five counts of importing Tier 2 goods (namely firearms) without lawful authorisation, contrary to section 233BAB of the Customs Act 1901.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale, Northern Command, said removing illegal firearms was always a priority for the AFP.
“The importation of components for handguns and other dangerous weapons endangers the community and enables criminal activity in Australia,” Assistant Commissioner Gale said.
“Illegally imported firearms are more difficult to trace, which makes them appealing for criminals. However, today’s court proceedings show the commitment of the AFP and our partners to investigating these matters and ensuring offenders face the full force of the law.
“The AFP has officers around the world who regularly work with international law enforcement to keep firearms off Australian streets.”
HSI Australia Attaché Adam Parks said the seizure and subsequent investigation highlighted a shared commitment to aggressively investigate those who attempt to circumvent the law by smuggling deadly merchandise across borders.
“The collaborative nature of this international operation is representative of the ongoing work we perform each day, often behind the scenes and unknown to the public, to make our communities safer and free from gun violence,” Attaché Parks said.