Detectives have arrested five people and seized 39 firearms along with more than $300,000 worth of property, following a gruelling investigation into the supply of illegal drugs and firearms allegedly obtained during break and enters across the Central West.
In October last year detected attached to the State Crime Command's Drug and Firearms squad, together with officers from Chifley Region Enforcement Squad and the NSW Crime Commission formed Strike Force Batch.
The 10-month investigation has resulted in five arrests at Bathurst, Lithgow, Rockley, including one man who is believed to be a Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang associate, with more than 50 charges being laid on the alleged offenders.
The arrests were made between April and July this year, the latest being made this week, with officers from Chifley Police District, the Western Region Enforcement Squad and Dog Unit all assisting throughout the investigation.
After being notified of the theft of 15 firearms from a storage container near Lithgow in lat December last year, officers located an empty safe in the Lidsdale State Forest a week later and divers subsequently searched the body of water afterward.
At about 9am on April 28 officers arrested a 41-year-old man during a vehicle stop at Raglan, searching the vehicle and locating six firearms, which were forensically examined and identified as guns stolen during the break and enter offence in December.
The man, from Capertree, was taken to Bathurst Police Station and charged with 11 firearm offences before facing local court the next day, where he'll appear again on September 8.
On May 19 strike force detectives executed three search warrants at properties in Rockley, Cobar Park and Windradyne from 6am, seizing 35 items including a number of weapons and ammunition, ice, cannabis and prescription medication.
Two men - aged 54 and 36 - along with a 57-year-old woman were arrested. The former taken to Orange Police Station and charged with 17 firearm and drug offences, appearing in local court the next day.
The man, from Rockley, is due to reappear in Bathurst Local Court on Wednesday, July 21. The 36-year-old man, from Cobar Park, was taken to Lithgow Police Station and charged with 15 offences.
He appeared in Lithgow Local Court the same day and will appear again on Thursday.
The 57-year-old woman, from Cobar Park, was also taken to Lithgow Police station and charged with two drug offences, she appeared in Lithgow Local Court last week and will do so again on August 19.
Last Wednesday, July 13 detectives also arrested a 33-year-old man at Mount Piper at about 7.30am.
Two search warrants were executed at homes in Lidsdale and Lithgow where police seized vehicles, a high-performance engine, a stolen chainsaw and earrings valued at nearly $15,000.
The man - a Rebels associate - was taken to Lithgow Police Station and charged 10 firearm, drug and criminal activity offences, he appeared in Lithgow Local Court on Wednesday was refused bail to reappear on Thursday.
Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Watson, praised detectives for conducting a protracted and thorough investigation into the activities of this alleged criminal syndicate.
"It will be alleged that those now before the courts were involved in acquiring, supplying and storing prohibited firearms in rural communities across the state's Western Region," he said.
"We do not want to see firearms falling into the wrong hands, so would remind those in the community who lawfully own guns to ensure they are stored correctly."
Investigations under Strike Force Batch are continuing.
Anyone with information about the supply of prohibited firearms is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
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