A Queensland man has been charged with firearm trafficking after an investigation by counter-terrorism police and Australia’s spy agency sparked multiple raids in the state’s southeast.
The 38-year-old Mudgeeraba man was arrested on Tuesday outside a gym at Robina on the Gold Coast and charged with a cross-border offence of disposal or acquisition of a firearm.
Investigators also seized a mobile phone and an encrypted phone.
Following the arrest, search warrants were executed at homes at Mudgeeraba and Bonogin and a beauty salon at Varsity Lakes.
During the searches, police seized cash, an encrypted phone, clothing and documentation.
Another search of a rural property at Rosedale, outside of Bundaberg, on Wednesday, turned up a double-barrel shotgun, a pump-action shotgun, a .22 calibre rifle and various calibres of ammunition.
A further warrant was executed on a property at Lowmead, in the Gladstone region, where officers found equipment consistent with large-scale drug manufacture and cultivation.
A further two firearms – both SKS rifles – were also seized.
Then on Thursday, a plane in a hangar at the Gold Coast Airport was searched and a logbook seized.
The operations were led by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team – comprising Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police Force, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission – and the Gold Coast Joint Organised Crime Task Force.
They were conducted as part of Operation Bouwel, which was set up to investigate a group with extremist ideology allegedly involved in illegal firearms trafficking, acquisitions and supply explosives.
Three men – aged 26, 29, and 30 – were arrested and charged in June. They remain before the courts.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter-Terrorism and Special Investigations Scott Lee said the high-calibre of weapons seized in the investigation was troubling.
The Mudgeeraba man has been granted strict bail to appear at Southport Magistrates Court on October 27.
Investigations are continuing.