JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Man charged by NSW JCTT for possessing plans for firearms
Monday, 13 September 2021 12:43:05 PM
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has charged a 26-year-old man from the NSW regional city of Orange with a serious firearms offence, as part of an investigation into the importation of firearm components by an alleged supporter of ideologically motivated violent extremism.
The man is due to re-appear at Dubbo Local Court today (Monday 13 September 2021), accused of possessing a digital blueprint to manufacture a firearm, contrary to section 51F(1) of the Firearms Act (NSW). The maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years imprisonment.
The man allegedly had the blueprint on his mobile phone, which was found by NSW JCTT officers executing a search warrant on his residence last Friday (10 September 2021).
The NSW JCTT comprises members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission.
It will also be alleged the man has imported legally obtained items that were to be used to manufacture firearms. It is believed these items have been imported into Australia over the past fourteen months.
The investigation began less than two weeks ago when Australian Border Force officers intercepted a package addressed to a property in Orange, NSW. The package was found to contain a firearm component.
Further investigation by the NSW JCTT identified the man listed as the addressee for the package as a supporter of ideologically motivated violent extremism.
Another man – a 31-year-old man from Orange – was served with a Firearms Prohibition Order on Friday as part of this ongoing investigation.
AFP Commander Stephen Dametto, Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Command, said the potential for 3D printers to manufacture firearms is a serious threat to community safety, and the heavy penalty attached to this offence reflects that.
“The potential for 3D printers to print firearms, or their components, is something police are constantly monitoring, and we will take action if we have evidence a person intends to manufacture a firearm,” said Commander Dametto.
“We will allege the man the man charged by the JCTT has demonstrated support for extreme ideological views. The JCTT acted early to prevent him manufacturing a firearm, even though he allegedly made significant preparations to be able to do so.
NSWPF Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command’s Detective Superintendent Mick Sheehy said it is illegal to possess blueprints for the manufacture of firearms, whether on a device or stored in a cloud.
“With the emergence of technologies, particularly in 3D-printing, authorities are proactively conducting inquiries into online activity and monitoring both the licit and illicit movement of firearms and firearm parts,” Det Supt Sheehy said.
“Police continue to uncover evidence of all types of illicit firearms, including homemade firearms, which are often crudely manufactured or assembled.
“These types of firearms add another layer of risk in terms of the safety of the community as they are unstable, and many are unable to maintain integrity once fired. We will not hesitate to take action if we believe there is a possibility that a firearm could land in the wrong hands.”
Investigations are continuing.