Joint ABF/WAPF Media Release: A 30 year old Perth man will face court today charged over the possession of 24 illegal firearms suppressors, or silencers, and more than 26,000 rounds of unsecured ammunition, following an investigation by the Australian Border Force (ABF) and WA Police Force (WAPF).
The investigation commenced in December last year when ABF officers at the Melbourne Gateway Facility intercepted the first of three parcels sent from China addressed to the man.
It will be alleged two of the parcels each contained one finished firearm suppressor and the third contained an unfinished firearm suppressor.
On 14 May 2020, ABF Investigators executed Customs Act warrants on two premises linked to the man in the southern Perth suburbs of Hammond Park and Munster.
It will be alleged 17 illegal suppressors were located at the Hammond Park address and a further seven at the Munster property.
It’ll be further alleged that a number of unsecured licenced firearms and 26,871 rounds of unsecured ammunition were located.
Those matters were referred to the WA Police Force, with officers from the Licencing Compliance Unit subsequently charging the man via summons with the following offences:
•Possession of contrivance known as a Silencer.
◾This charge covers all 24 suppressors that were located.
•2 x ‘Fail to provide and use adequate storage facilities to ensure firearms or ammunition safety’
◾One of these charges relates to the 26,871 rounds of .22 ammunition allegedly found unsecured.
◾The other relates to two firearms allegedly not being secured properly.
A second person was also charged, a 62 year-old male, in relation to an unsecured shotgun allegedly found in a bedroom at the Munster property.
He faces one count of ‘Fail to provide and use adequate storage facilities to ensure firearms or ammunition safety’.
Both men are due to appear in the Fremantle Magistrates Court today, Tuesday, 30 June 2020.
Commonwealth charges relating to the attempted importation of the three suppressors allegedly detected in Melbourne are pending.
ABF WA Superintendent of Investigations, Clinton Sims, said the investigation was part of Operation Athena, a multi-agency initiative designed to target the trafficking and use of illicit firearms throughout Australia.
“Firearms suppressors are highly restricted and have the potential to cause great community harm. ABF officers around the country are skilled in targeting suspect consignments and detecting firearms, no matter how they are concealed,” Superintendent Sims said.
“ABF and its Federal and State and Territory law enforcement partners will continue to target people who attempt to import firearms, parts or accessories such as silencers into Australia without a proper permit.”
Acting Superintendent Lysle Cubbage, from WA Police Force’s Licensing Enforcement Division, said firearm suppressors pose a significant danger to the community and it is a serious offence to attempt to import them or be in possession of them.
“WA Police Force continues to work closely with Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, and a seizure such this highlights why law enforcement agency partnerships are so important for the community,” Acting Superintendent Cubbage said.
“By sharing information between agencies and conducting joint or parallel investigations we can ensure the full force of the law – State and Commonwealth – is applied to anyone who is identified as being involved in the illicit firearm parts trade. Information provided allowed WA Police Force to seize a large quantity of ammunition and a number of firearms.”
Operation Athena involves all policing jurisdictions as well as a number of Federal agencies including Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Defence Force.