POLICE have carried out a series of rapid raids across Australia, seizing more than 80 guns and 40 silencers.
The raids were executed after US authorities alerted the Australian Border Force (ABF) to a large number of Australian customers purchasing ‘solvent trap’ cleaning kits from a US-based website.
It’s understood the kits can easily be converted into sound suppressors or silencers, and so are considered prohibited imports when brought into the country.
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As a result, the ABF, with the assistance of state and territory police, executed 25 Customs Act search warrants across the country, with a further 17 properties targeted in residential visits.
During the searches, 81 firearms and 43 suppressors were seized, along with large amounts of ammunition, 37kg of gunpowder, a number of firearm parts and other prohibited weapons.
The ABF says a number of prohibited import charges are now under consideration.
Border Force Assistant Commissioner Wayne Buchhorn said the ABF actively targets those who import or facilitate the importation of firearms, firearm parts, blueprints or ammunition for supply to criminal groups.
“Those involved in these criminal activities should be aware that the ABF and our law enforcement partners have a range of tools at our disposal to identify and seize these illegal importations and locate those behind them,” Assistant Commissioner Buchhorn said.
“Between local and international intelligence sharing, our world-class firearms detector dogs and cutting edge x-ray scanning technology, we are well placed to pick up these items at the border, no matter how they arrive.”
Members of the community, including legitimate firearms owners, are encouraged to assist in the efforts to combat illicit firearms.
“We don’t want to be penalising recreational shooters, so it’s important firearm owners who buy parts and accessories online are aware of Australia’s strict firearms regulations, and that if they attempt to import prohibited goods they face losing those goods and will face possible criminal prosecution.”
Anyone with information about the illicit importation of firearms or firearm parts is encouraged to report it to BorderWatch by visiting www.border.gov.au/borderwatch.
This includes information on those who sell or import firearms illicitly; those who possess illicit firearms or who target the theft of firearms from legitimate shooters for sale to criminals and criminal groups; those who manufacture illicit homemade firearms; those who illicitly sell ammunition or provide reloaded ammunition or; who repair, manufacture or modify firearms illegally.