A MAN has been charged this afternoon as part of a joint-agency investigation into the alleged importation of illegal firearm parts and drug manufacturing equipment.
In late June, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted a consignment from Japan containing a BB gun and pellets, a prohibited import.
A total of ten packages were detected by ABF officers, which had arrived either via air cargo or International mail, from Hong Kong, China, Germany and Japan between June and September.
As a result NSW Police Force, Australian Border Force and US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commenced investigations.
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As a result, police officers from Western Region Enforcement Squad and investigators from Border Force and Homeland Security executed a search warrant and a customs search and seizure warrant at a home in NSW's Central Tablelands at South Bathurst just after 6am on Wednesday.
However, after entering the property investigators discovered a suspicious substance inside the home and called for assistance from Fire and Rescue NSW's HAZMAT unit.
Specialist officers from the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit and the Drug and Firearms Squad's Chemical Operations Unit were called in from Sydney.
The 36-year-old male resident was served with Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Orders before being arrested and taken to Bathurst police station.
Commander of the Western Region Enforcement Squad, Acting Superintendent Robert Bevern, said the suspicious substance was a liquid which had started to crystallise.
Officers suspected it was a drug-related chemical.
It has been an excellent inter-agency response, assisted by our international counterparts.Superintendent Peter O'Brien
Once the liquid was decanted into safe storage containers by the bomb squad, it was removed from the scene and taken to Bathurst police station.
Superintendent Peter O'Brien from Chifley Police District said investigations into the alleged importation of illegal firearms components started a month ago.
"It's been an excellent inter-agency response assisted by our international counterparts," he said.
Inspector Tony Wheatley from Australian Border Force agreed.
"This is another fantastic example and result for joint agencies, and it goes to show the power of global focus on illegal firearms," he said.
Inspector Wheatley said it would be alleged firearm parts were imported from China, Germany, the US and Spain, with most coming from air cargo and international mail. It will be alleged the items were barrels, triggers and the like.
"We worked with agencies here in NSW to identify a person of interest,' he said, adding intelligence came from a global information collection point.
"It's a fantastic outcome."
Inspector Wheatley said the operation showed Australian Border Force Security had highly trained people on the ground to intercept illegal items as they come across the border.