Two people were arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) following the seizure of a .22 Caliber Sig Saur pistol and magazine by Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACPBS) officers on Aug 16, at the Melbourne Gateway Facility.
A joint media release issued by the AFP and ACPBS said, a 21-year-old Banksia Grove woman and a 21-year-old Greenwood man appeared before Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday and were charged with importing an illegal firearm to Australia.
Both were charged with importing a Tier 2 good (firearm) and magazine, contrary to section 233BAB (5) of the Customs Act 1901 into Australia, the release said. Both face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and fine of $125,000, if found guilty.
The release said investigations into the case began when ACPBS officers at the Melbourne international mail facility examined a package declared to contain a hard drive posted from the USA. On inspection they found a pistol and magazine hidden inside a package resembling a computer hard drive. ACBPS officers referred the matter to the AFP for further investigation.
Following, inputs from the ACBPS, the AFP conducted a controlled delivery of the package, on Sept 2, and arrested two people in Banksia Grove, Western Australia. ACBPS National Manager Cargo Operations Jagtej Singh said the detection highlighted the importance of inter-agency law enforcement cooperation.
"The public should rightly be concerned that such items are being posted through international mail. Our officers, together with the AFP, are committed to stopping this dangerous trade and use a range of detection techniques and intelligence sharing arrangements to disrupt it," Singh was quoted in the release as saying.
Manager Crime Operations Jennifer Hurst said the seizure of this firearm is an example of law enforcement agencies working together to combat illegal importations.
"The importation of firearms into Australia is a serious crime and the community should be aware that the AFP and Customs and Border Protection will continue to work together to stop illegal importations, including those through the postal system," Commander Hurst said in the statement.
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