Arrest After Raid At Warners Bay In Crackdown On Firearms

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A man has been arrested at Warners Bay as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal guns.

Dubbed Operation Athena – the Australian Border Force-led week of action saw 86 people arrested and more than 500 firearms seized across the country in coordinated raids carried out between October 23 and October 29 with state and federal police.

A search of the house at Warners Bay resulted in the seizure of equipment consistent with the manufacture of firearms, 3D printers, printed firearm parts, ammunition, steroids, and precursor chemicals.

Items seized at Warners Bay
Items seized at Warners Bay

The 38-year-old man arrested at the home was later charged with two counts of possess digital blueprint for manufacture of firearms, possess ammunition without holding a licence, and possess prohibited drug.

He appeared at Newcastle Local Court the following day, where he was formally refused bail. He is expected to return to the same court on November 9.

National chair of Operation Athena, Detective Superintendent John Watson from NSW Police Force’s Drug and Firearms Squad, said the manufacture of hybrid 3D printed guns was an emerging trend.

“With the advancement of technology 3D printed parts and 3D printed firearms are becoming more popular and we have made seizures throughout the week that demonstrate that,” Det Supt Watson said.

However, he stressed the method was not currently being harnessed on a large scale by criminal organisations.

“We’re not seeing significant numbers and we’re certainly not seeing the involvement of organised crime.”

ABF Assistant Commissioner East Division Erin Dale said gel blasters are a significant concern for law enforcement right now.

“They can look identical to real handguns, shotguns and rifles. The colour, size and detail of these gel blasters makes it difficult for anyone to see the difference between a toy and a real firearm,” the Assistant Commissioner said.