Gold Coast man arrested, homes and plane searched in major counter-terror sting

A Gold Coast man has been arrested as part of a massive NSW counter-terror investigation looking into the alleged trafficking of firearms.

The 38-year-old Mudgeeraba man was arrested outside a Robina gym on Tuesday morning and taken to the Southport Watch House and charged with a cross-border offence of disposal or acquisition of a firearm.

He has since been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Southport Magistrates Court on October 27.


Following the man’s arrest, investigators raided homes in Mudgeeraba and Bonogin as well as a beauty salon in Varsity Lakes, seizing cash, an encrypted phone, clothing and documentation.

A Cessna plan within a hangar at Gold Coast Airport was also searched yesterday and the logbook was seized.

Firearms, ammunition and drug-making equipment were also found in properties near Bundaberg and Gladstone as part of the far-reaching investigation.

It all relates to an ongoing investigation into a group with possible access to illegal firearms and explosive and members with suspected extremist ideology.

Three other men have already been charged in relation to the investigation and remain before the courts.

NSWPF Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Michael McLean, said the operation demonstrates the effectiveness of cooperation of law enforcement across jurisdictions and areas of expertise.

“The NSW JCTT has so far seized more than 20 firearms across two states during Operation Bouwel, and our inquiries have once again uncovered strong links between potential acts of terrorism and organised criminal activity,” Acting Assistant Commissioner McLean said.

“Regardless of the individual’s motivation, a firearm in the possession of someone who should not have it, can have devastating circumstances, and the NSW Police Force will continue to target anyone who seeks to do harm within our community.”

AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Scott Lee said the high-calibre of weapons seized in this investigation was troubling.

“I want to thank the NSW JCTT and Gold Coast JOCTF investigators for their diligent efforts in taking these weapons off the streets, and in following the trail of the organised crime network supplying them from NSW to Queensland. This work will continue as we are all determined to bring everyone involved in this network to account for their criminal actions,” Assistant Commissioner Lee said.