Newport man charged over alleged attempts to buy guns while overseas

A man has been charged over alleged attempts to purchase firearms including an AK-47 and semi-automatic handguns.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged a 39-year-old Newport man with a range of offences related to the alleged acquisition of weapons and money laundering while overseas.

The man was arrested on Sunday at Melbourne International Airport after he arrived back from Lebanon, and was charged with seven offences relating to the attempted purchase of firearms including an AK-47 and semi-automatic handguns.

It is understood the investigation began in December 2017, with investigators liaising with Lebanese authorities throughout the investigation, with a focus on identifying potential suppliers and traffickers of firearms.

The man is believed to have been on bail at the time of the alleged offending. He appeared before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday and is scheduled to re-appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on 14 January 2019.

AFP Victorian State Manager Commander Amanda Kates said while charges have been laid, investigations with domestic and international law enforcement partners remain ongoing, with the focus being the protection of the community.

“The weapons identified during this investigation are the type traditionally sought by organised crime figures, and we had real fears they could have been used to commit or facilitate other crimes,” Commander Kates said.

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