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Source: Australian Federal Police

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has seized 14 illegal firearms and charged three men with a total of 73 offences over their alleged involvement in the supply of firearms in Sydney’s south-west.

Earlier this year, members of the NSW JCTT – comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission – received information relating to a group with possible access to illegal firearms and members with suspected extremist ideology.

Operation Bouwel was subsequently commenced to investigate the group’s involvement in the acquirement and supply of firearms and explosives.

During the course of the investigation, the JCTT seized 11 firearms, including four SKS rifles, a Taurus 9mm pistol .45 calibre self-loading pistol, a .45 calibre handgun, a semi-automatic .22 calibre rifle with silencer, a semi-automatic M1 carbine, and a pump-action shotgun.

Investigators also seized two banana magazines and 523 rounds of ammunition (various calibres).

Following extensive inquiries, Operation Bouwel investigators, with the assistance of the Tactical Operations Unit, the Public Order and Riot Squad and South West Metropolitan Operations Support Group, executed five search warrants and conducted three Firearms Prohibition Order (FPO) searches across south west Sydney from 9.30am yesterday (Friday 19 June 2020).

During the searches, investigators seized electronic devices and clothing relevant to the investigation, along with cash and prohibited drugs. 

Police also seized a further three firearms – an MK5 rifle, a Berretta 9mm pistol, and a 9mm mini-Glock pistol – as a result of the operation.

All of the firearms will undergo extensive forensic and ballistic examination.

Three men – aged 26, 29, and 30 – were arrested and taken to Bankstown Police Station.

The 29-year-old Bankstown man was charged with 18 counts of offer to supply/supply pistol to person unauthorised to possess it, 17 counts of offer to supply/supply prohibited firearm to unauthorised person, seven counts of supply, give ammunition to person not authorised, unlawfully sell firearms 3 times of more within 12 months, and participate in criminal group contribute to criminal activity.

The 26-year-old East Hills man was charged with six counts of offer to supply/supply pistol to person unauthorised to possess it, eight counts of offer to supply/supply prohibited firearm to unauthorised person, seven counts of supply, give ammunition to person not authorised, unlawfully sell firearms 3 times of more within 12 months, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The 30-year-old Condell Park man was charged with three counts of offer to supply/supply pistol to person unauthorised to possess it, offer to supply/supply prohibited firearm to unauthorised person, unlawfully sell firearms 3 times of more within 12 months, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

They have all been refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today (Saturday 20 June 2020).

Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.

Editors Note: Vision of this operation is available via Hightail: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/dX197yE0MT/YmxhYzFhaW5AcG9saWNlLm5zdy5nb3YuYXU=

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