Three men in Victoria have been arrested and charged after an organised crime taskforce uncovered around $1 million in cash, along with what police will allege are various quantities of drugs, explosives, and more than 40 illegal guns.
The trio, including an alleged Russian organised crime member, were charged with firearms and proceeds of crime offences.
Two of the men, aged 49 and 46, did not seek bail and remain in custody, while the third man, aged 64, from Brighton, was granted bail by the court.
The organised crime taskforce began their operations after a tip-off from the Australian Border Force informed them an alleged fake passport had been intercepted in the international mail.
Border Force officers found a fake Netherlands passport in a package addressed to a business in Burwood.
Victoria Police conducted a ‘controlled delivery’ of the package to the Burwood address on January 5.
An individual working for the business allegedly took delivery of the package.
Later that day, police watched as a 46-year-old North Fitzroy man arrived at the business and departed with the package.
The North Fitzroy man then delivered it to the alleged Russian organised crime member, aged 49.
Police had allegedly identified him from the passport photo, and suspected that he would try to flee Australia using the fake passport to avoid facing court.
Two weeks later, an AFP tactical response team arrested the alleged Russian organised crime member in Port Melbourne.
He was allegedly found with a mobile phone, breaching his previously set bail conditions.
When they searched his possessions, the 49-year-old man also allegedly had a large amount of cash, and images on his camera of a cache of guns and a grenade.
Police searched the man’s home in Albert Park where they found and seized gold bullion coins, five USBs, multiple mobile phones and about $400,000 in Australian and US currency.
Victoria Police members then searched a property in Tyabb allegedly linked to the group.
Police said they excavated soil from the area and uncovered six storage cases that allegedly contained “sophisticated explosive devices”.
The Victoria Police bomb squad was called to the scene while the explosives were safely disposed of.
Another home in Humevale was searched and excavated where another cache of guns was found.
The 46-year-old man, who allegedly delivered the fake passport, was arrested at his home in North Fitzroy, where police seized what they allege are three firearms, cocaine, methamphetamine and three mobile phones.
A third man, aged 64, was arrested in Melbourne’s CBD.
A search warrant was executed by police at his Brighton home where they seized about $600,000 cash.
Another Albert Park property was searched with alleged links to the men, where police seized suspected illicit drugs, a laptop and three mobile phone handsets.
More than 40 guns were allegedly found across the investigation.
The 49 year old man was hit with ten charges including unlawfully possessing firearms, breaches of his bail conditions, and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The North Fitzroy man, 46, was charged with five charges for drug and firearm possession.
The 64-year-old-brighton man was charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime, and possessing firearms illegally.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and further arrests were not ruled out.