Police target illicit firearms in Mildura

Detectives have arrested 11 people and conducted 10 Firearm Prohibition Orders (FPO) searches as part of an operation to disrupt and deter illicit firearms in a week-long operation in Mildura.

The operation, also targeting Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members, involved police from the VIPER Taskforce, Mildura Criminal Investigation Unit, Mildura Divisional Response Unit, State Highway Patrol and the Dog Squad.

Alongside the 10 FPO searches in Mildura (9) and Irymple, five search warrants were executed in Merbein (2), Mildura (2) and Red Cliffs between 11 and 12 January, and one new FPO was served on a Mildura man.

Eight people were charged with various offences, including:

• A 32-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, both from Mildura, were charged with possess drug of dependence and ATO deceptions.

The duo was bailed to face Mildura Magistrates’ Court on 20 January.

• A 37-year-old Mildura man was charged with possess drug of dependence.

He was bailed to face Mildura Magistrates’ Court on 21 March.

• Two men from Colignan, a 28-year-old and a 24-year-old, were charged with possess drug of dependence, cultivate drug of dependence and possess prohibited weapon.

They were bailed to face Mildura Magistrates’ Court on 21 March.

• A 46-year-old Colignan woman is expected to be charged on summons.

VIPER members were also on hand to assist with the arrest of three males, a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy from NSW, and a 31-year-old of no fixed place of address, wanted by police for offending in both Victoria and NSW.

The trio was charged with a range of offences including home invasion, armed robbery, burglary, theft of motor vehicle, arson and reckless conduct endanger serious injury.

The two men were remanded to appear at Mildura Magistrates’ Court on 8 February. The 17-year-old boy will face a children’s court at a later date.

Police subsequently seized a crowbar, a sword, a knife, various drugs of dependence, including methylamphetamine, cannabis and 1,4-Butanediol, ammunition and other prohibited weapons.

As part of the operation members from State Highway Patrol targeted serious and organised crime entities on Mildura roads, and their enforcement results included:

• five drug drivers,

• five unlicenced drivers,

• four vehicle impounds,

• three speeding offences,

• three unregistered vehicles, and

• one mobile phone offence.

Firearm Prohibition Orders are a legislative provision that give police 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 between 14 and 17 years of age.

During that time, the individual is prohibited from acquiring, possessing, carrying or using any firearm related item such as ammunition.

The charges relating to FPOs include up to 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 1800 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 to www.crimestoppersvic.com.auExternal Link

Quotes attributed to Detective Acting Inspector Warren Chapman, VIPER Taskforce:

“This week’s activity is at timely reminder that VIPER can and will deploy anywhere in the state to support police in the regions.

“Those living in regional areas shouldn’t feel more comfortable. If you are involved in gang related or organised criminal activity anywhere in Victoria, you are not out of our reach. We can and will target you.

“FPOs are not issued only based on a person’s criminal history with firearms – they are being issued to those people we know have a significant history of serious violent crime or who are linked to serious and organised crime groups.

“By actively working to reduce the number of illicit firearms in the community, we will reduce the amount of serious crimes those weapons enable.

“Make no mistake – police will continue to do everything within their power to make sure firearms stay out of the wrong hands.”

Quotes attributed to Detective Acting Inspector Matthew Pascoe, Mildura Police:

“Firearm Prohibition Orders serve as a powerful tool to hold certain individuals accountable when it comes to the use of illicit firearms.

“The safety of the community is our priority and make no mistake – we will continue to come down hard on individuals who illegally access, use and store firearms.

“Any person subject to a FPO considering possessing a firearm is playing a very dangerous game of roulette. Victoria Police is regularly performing compliance checks on these people and if caught, the consequences are severe – up to 10 years in prison.”

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