A TIP-OFF from New Zealand police sparked a lengthy investigation into a suspected child abuser, accused of possessing a cache of firearms and drugs in Hillgrove.
A 38-year-old local man is accused of engaging in sexually-explicit online conversations with a 35-year-old woman and her 11-year-old daughter.
But it all unravelled on Monday when the true identity of the woman and child was revealed to be an undercover officer.
The Leader reported yesterday officers from the State Crime Command had raided a Hillgrove home, 30km east of Armidale, as part of an undercover operation.
It was here police have confirmed they seized an illegal haul of seven unregistered firearms, ammunition and 12kg of cannabis as well as computers and electronic storage devices.
A 38-year-old man was in an Armidale car park just a couple of hours beforehand when investigators from the Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit and Armidale police stopped him in his tracks.
He was immediately searched before being arrested and taken to Armidale Police Station where police told the man they’d been watching him for months.
Police allege he was found to be in possession of amphetamine at the time.
Authorities across the Tasman were the instigators to the investigation, tipping off NSW police about the man’s online activities.
When detectives assumed the identity of a 35-year-old woman and her 11-year-old daughter, they will allege a series of sexually explicit conversations occurred about child exploitation before plans were made to set up a face-to-face encounter.
The man was arrested in an Armidale car park about lunchtime on Monday.
His identity has been suppressed by a court order but he is facing three counts of possessing child abuse material, supplying an indictable quantity of cannabis, cultivating a prohibited plant and possessing a prohibited drug.
The man has also been charged with seven counts of possessing unregistered firearms, possessing ammunition and possessing a prohibited weapon.
He was led into Armidale Local Court yesterday for his first appearance since the arrest. He didn’t apply for bail and wasn’t required to enter any pleas to the charges.
A request to suppress the details surrounding the case was also heard during proceedings.