Customs admits illegal gun import X-ray blunder
ABC News, Thursday, May 24, 2012 14:08:16
Customs officials have revealed that their X-ray machines did not pick up more than 100 pistols that were illegally imported through a Sydney post office.
Police arrested four people in March over the Glock pistols that were allegedly posted from Germany to the Sylvania Waters Post Office.
Representatives from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service were questioned about the case during a Federal Estimates hearing in Canberra this morning.
At the time police said they had seized more than 200 handguns, but today’s Estimates hearing was told about 122 pistols, triggers and magazines were sent by airmail.
Officials told the hearing a Customs X-ray machine had screened some of the packages but failed to detect the gun parts.
Customs chief executive Michael Carmody told the hearing that the sheer volume of international mail make it difficult to detect illegal imports without solid intelligence.
“If you pull apart a gun into its various components and throw it in with a whole lot of metal machinery and so on,” he said.
“The X-rays are important but nothing beats the intelligence and targeting and that’s the issues of us here.
“We now have embedded in the New South Wales Police Force organised crime squad one of our analysts, so we are there at the start of investigation at the start of intelligence.”