Multiple illicit firearms and grenade seized from a Perth home

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, West Australian Police and Australian Border Force.

Editor's note : Images of the weapons and ammunition seized are available via this hightail link.

The AFP has seized multiple firearms, ammunition and a smoke grenade from a home in Perth as part of a multi-agency investigation targeting the trafficking of illicit firearms.

AFP investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in a northern coastal suburb of Perth on 3 November 2022 as part of ongoing national Operation Athena.

Police officers seized 10 unregistered firearms, including two SKS semi-automatic assault rifles capable of firing 40 rounds per minute, a double barrel shotgun, three bolt action rifles, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and a military-grade smoke grenade from the home.

It will be alleged the firearms and ammunition were stored inside modified barrel containers in an underground cellar.    

A further search of the premises also revealed six legally registered rifles with scopes secured in a gun safe - the six firearms were seized, with the owner to be subjected to a 'fitness to hold' test under WA firearms legislation.

The AFP investigation is ongoing, with routine forensic and ballistic testing for comparison purposes to ascertain if any of the seized firearms have been used in prior criminal activity.

Operation Athena is a national firearms effort initiated under the Serious Organised Crime Coordination Committee to deliver a multi-agency law enforcement initiative targeting the trafficking and use of illicit firearms throughout Australia. 

On this occasion, the investigation involved officers from AFP Western Command organised crime, Australian Border Force (ABF), West Australian Police Force Tactical Response Group (TRG), with support from AFP K9 detector dogs and AFP Forensics and Geomatics.    

AFP Inspector Chris Colley said the AFP continued to work tirelessly with its partners to detect and prevent the trafficking of illegal weapons into our community.

“Removing firearms and other weapons from the community is a vital step in keeping everyone safe from the potential impacts of the harmful and illegal use of these weapons,” Inspector Colley said.

“The unlawful trafficking and misuse of firearms is inherently linked to serious and organised criminal networks with the whole community feeling the impact when firearm violence offending occurs on our streets.”

ABF Superintendent Clinton Sims said the seizure follows a joint national week of action as part of Operation Athena which led to 86 arrests and more than 700 firearms or firearm parts taken off Australian streets.

“ABF officers frequently share intelligence and resources with our law enforcement partners to target those who import, manufacture or possess illicit firearms, which ensures we have a very wide net to find these offenders,” Superintendent Sims said.

Operation Athena involves all policing jurisdictions as well as a number of federal agencies including Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Defence Force.

The maximum penalty for unlicensed possession of three or more firearms under the Firearms Act (WA) 1973 is 14 years’ imprisonment, while failure to ensure safe-keeping of a firearm or ammunition carries a potential 12-month jail term.

Anyone who has information regarding people in the community who are involved in the manufacture, importation or distribution of illicit firearms is encouraged to report the information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 – callers can remain anonymous, and we will act on the information.

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