Detectives from the Illicit Firearms Squad have seized firearms, drugs, proceeds of crime and arrested 11 people as part of an investigation into the trafficking of illicit firearms in the Latrobe Valley.
Resolution of the investigation involved members from the Illicit Firearms Squad, Eastern Region Crime Squad, Latrobe Valley Crime Investigation Unit, Morwell Divisional Response Unit, Cardinia Crime Investigation Unit, Southern Metro Division 3 Divisional Response Unit and the Dog Squad, as well as the AFP National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS).
Police executed 10 search warrants at properties in Yarragon, Trafalgar, Labertouche, Moe (2), Pakenham, Warragul, Drouin, Nar Nar Goon and Narracan on Thursday, 25 November.
They subsequently seized firearms, firearm-related items, ammunition, prohibited weapons, drugs including methylamphetamine, cocaine, 1,4 Butanediol and steroids, and a significant amount of cash.
Eleven people were arrested, including the following;
• A 37-year-old Yarragon man was charged with a range of offences including traffick firearms and traffick drug of dependence. He faced Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and was remanded;
• A 63-year-old Narracan man was charged with offences including traffick firearms and cultivate cannabis. He fronted Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and was remanded;
• A 34-year-old Moe man was charged with offences including traffick firearms and theft. He appeared at Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and was remanded;
• A 40-year-old Moe man was charged with firearms trafficking offences. He was bailed and will appear at Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on 13 April, 2022;
• A 40-year-old Drouin man was charged with multiple counts of traffick drug of dependence and possess proceeds of crime. He faced Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and was remanded;
• A 52-year-old Warragul man was charged with possess methylamphetamine and traffick drug of dependence
• A 42-year-old Labertouche man was charged with firearm trafficking offences. He was bailed and will face Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on April 14, 2022;
• A 54-year-old Labertouche man was interviewed in relation to drug matters and has been released pending further enquiries;
• A 27-year-old Nar Nar Goon man was interviewed and released in relation to weapon offences;
• A 44-year-old Pakenham man was arrested regarding an outstanding warrant and was bailed to appear at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 11 February, 2022; and
• A 37-year-old Moe man received a drug diversion.
Four Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPOs) were also served.
These arrests and seizures formed part of a targeted four-month investigation into a criminal syndicate alleged to have been involved in the trafficking of illicit firearms and drugs in the state’s east.
Firearm Prohibition Orders are an integral enforcement tool that provides police with specific powers to proactively respond to, disrupt and prevent firearm-related crime in Victoria and keep the community safe.
Once issued, an FPO remains in effect for 10 years for adults and five years for children, which is those between 14 and 17 years of age.
During that time, the individual is prohibited from acquiring, possessing, carrying or using any firearm or firearm related item such as ammunition.
They are also unable to enter a range of premises including firearms dealers, shooting ranges or firearms clubs.
The charges relating to FPOs are significant – 10 years imprisonment for acquiring, possessing, carrying or using a firearm or firearm related item.
Since they were introduced in May 2018, Victoria Police has issued over 1200 FPOs across the state.
Anyone with information about illicit firearm activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report
Quotes attributable to Detective Superintendent, Peter Brigham, State Anti-Gangs Division, Crime Command:
‘The Illicit Firearms Squad is dedicated to removing firearms such as these from our streets and making the Victorian community safer.
‘Seizing this number of firearms and firearm related items is a great outcome for community safety.
‘We know illicit firearms often feature heavily in some of our most serious and violent crimes such as homicides, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries and family violence offending, as well as within the drug trade.
‘Rest assured, we will target those involved and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we further disrupt the trafficking and use of illicit firearms in Victoria.’