This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police Force.
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has charged seven men after seizing eight firearms, more than 11kg of cocaine and $2 million cash as part of an investigation into the supply of firearms and cocaine across Sydney.
In mid-2019, the NSW JCTT – comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission – commenced an investigation under Operation Veerle after receiving information relating to unlawful access to firearms.
As part of inquiries, the NSW JCTT uncovered an alleged criminal network involved in the illicit supply of cocaine and firearms.
Since May 2020, NSW JCTT investigators have seized six firearms, including a shortened Norinco SKS, a Chinese-manufactured SKS, a .45 calibre Norinco 1911, a shortened Mini-14, a shortened 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, and a COLT 1908 self-loading pistol; various calibres of ammunition, a military-grade smoke grenade, and about 1kg of cocaine.
Following extensive investigations, Operation Veerle investigators, with the assistance of the Tactical Operations Unit, arrested two men at Bass Hill about 11.30am yesterday (Tuesday 15 December 2020).
During a search of the men and their vehicles, investigators seized 200g of cocaine, $24,400 cash and mobile phones.
Both men – aged 30 and 36 – were taken to Bankstown Police Station.
The 36-year-old Bexley man was charged with unlawfully sell firearms three times or more within 12 months, large commercial drug supply, and supply prohibited weapon.
The 30-year-old Bass Hill man was charged with supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, five counts of supply prohibited drug, three counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, possess/attempt to possess prescribed restricted substance, owner/occupier knowingly allow use as drug premises, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.
Both men were refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court today (Wednesday 16 December 2020).
Shortly after the arrests, NSW JCTT investigators executed 10 search warrants at homes across Sydney and a further search warrant at a rural property in the Southern Tablelands.
The operation was also assisted by the State Crime Command’s Criminal Groups Squad, the Public Order and Riot Squad, South West Metropolitan Operations Support Group, the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit, and officers from various Police Area Commands and Police Districts.
During the searches, police seized about $2 million cash, more than 10kg of cocaine, a Winchester lever-action rifle, a Franchi Spas 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, a number of vehicles, jet skis, cannabis, mobile phones, and electronic devices.
A further five men – aged 31, 35, 36, 39 and 46 – were arrested during the operation and taken to local police stations.
The 36-year-old Yagoona man was charged with two counts of supply unregistered firearm-prohibited firearm, possess unauthorised prohibited firearm, and possess unregistered firearm-prohibited firearm.
The 39-year-old Picnic Point man was charged with supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drug, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
Both men were also refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court today.
The 35-year-old Kingsgrove man was charged with supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis.
The 46-year-old Punchbowl man was charged with supply prohibited firearm to person unauthorised to possess it.
The men were refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court today.
The 31-year-old Blakehurst man was charged with four counts of supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity).
He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Burwood Local Court on Monday 11 January 2021.
The NSW JCTT can confirm there is no impending threat to the community related to Operation Veerle, which is an ongoing investigation.
Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.
Further, information relating to any criminal activity in the community can be reported to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.