Uncover weapons cache seized by police

A WA man is facing multiple weapons
charges following raids.
A WA man is facing multiple weapons charges following raids.

A MAN has been charged after police uncovered a hidden weapons cache during a raid in WA’s South West.

Guns, ammunition, electronic detonators and a bow and arrows were among the weapons haul seized from a house in Collie.

Most of the weapons were stored in a concealed compartment behind the stove in the kitchen.

A 33-year-old man, who doesn’t have a firearms licence, is facing multiple weapons charges after the raid by Australian Border Force regional investigations officers and Bunbury detectives, with an ABF firearms detector dog.

Commonwealth and State search warrants were executed as part of Operation Athena, a multi-agency initiative designed to target the trafficking and use of illicit firearms throughout Australia.

The man was arrested by WA Police Force and charged with the unlicensed possession of three or more firearms and ammunition, possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing a silencer and possessing drug paraphernalia.

He was refused bail and was due to appear in Bunbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The Australian Border Force said the investigation kicked off in September when ABF officers at the Sydney Gateway Facility examined an air parcel sent from Israel.

Officers allegedly found a rifle chassis that incorporates a folding stock, which is a prohibited item in Australia.

ABF WA Superintendent of Investigations Clinton Sims, said the ABF would continue to target people who attempted to import firearms, parts or accessories into Australia without a proper permit.

“These items are highly restricted and have the potential to cause great community harm. ABF officers around the country are highly skilled in targeting suspect consignments and detecting firearms, no matter how they are concealed,” he said.

“These results highlight the excellent working relationship between state, federal and international law enforcement partners and their efforts to combat the scourge of illegal firearms.

“Under the Customs Act, possible charges include ten years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $525,000, or both.”

Superintendent Geoff Stewart from WA Police Force’s South West District Office said the detection made by ABF and the subsequent seizure of weapons by Bunbury Detectives and ABF personnel had made the community a safer place.

“Illicit weapons can cause significant harm to the community, and this seizure highlights how the strong partnerships between state and Commonwealth agencies extends to protect communities in regional WA,” he said.

Anyone with information about the manufacture, importation or distribution of illicit firearms should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.