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International transfer trail leads to illegal weapons stash


Law enforcement partners used AUSTRAC information to identify the online payment account of a man who appeared to be importing components for weapons that are illegal in Australia. After discovering the man had made multiple low-value international transfers, law enforcement officers were able to get a search warrant and find a large stash of weapons. He was charged with firearms offences.

The crime

The case centred on a man who appeared to be importing components for building or modifying a type of assault rifle that is illegal in Australia.

Law enforcement consulted a number of data sources, including AUSTRAC’s database, in their investigation. AUSTRAC was able to identify the offender’s online payment account, enabling investigators to get the offender's account details and other identifying information.

AUSTRAC’s data revealed that over five years the offender had made approximately 160 low-value international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) totalling A$15,500. All IFTIs were below A$1000 and were sent overseas via an online payment service.

This information helped law enforcement officers to get a search warrant for the offender's residence. In the resulting search they seized two revolvers, a sawn-off shotgun, a rifle, and parts for assault rifles and other guns. Most of these had been imported illegally. The officers also found equipment to manufacture guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, body armour, machetes, three hand grenades, a claymore mine and an improvised explosive device.

The offender was arrested and charged with firearms offences.

AUSTRAC’s role

Law enforcement used AUSTRAC information to identify the offender's online payment account and his other financial activity, which was important to the investigators obtaining the search warrant and discovering the weapons.

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Last updated: 1 Jul 2019
Page ID: 113

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