A US citizen has been charged after he was found to have brought a loaded firearm in his carry-on baggage through Sydney International Airport’s security screening.
The Australian Federal Police were called to the airport on Sunday morning, after a security worker spotted the weapon in the 47-year-old man’s carry-on baggage, after placing the baggage through the airport’s security x-ray machine.
Police proceeded to inspect the man’s bag and located a loaded Ruger pistol, according to a statement by the AFP.
The man was then stopped from boarding his flight to the US and was brought into police custody. The weapon was seized by police.
AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Scott Sykes said officers had allegedly found one bullet in the chamber of the handgun, which meant it was actioned and ready to be fired.
“The man claimed he had forgotten the weapon was in his luggage,” Detective Superintendent Sykes said.
“But this situation could have had deadly consequences for other travellers, even if it had discharged accidentally during the flight.”
According to the AFP, the man has been charged and will face Sydney Central Local Court on Monday on three offences, including:
Carrying weapons through a screening point, contrary to section 47 (1) of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment.
Unauthorised possession or use of firearms generally, contrary to section 7A(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW). The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment.
Special Offence relating to tier 2 goods, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment.
“Security screening staff at the airport were vigilant and along with AFP officers, acted quickly to ensure the safety of the travelling public,” Detective Superintendent Sykes added.