Four Corners: May 15

On Four Corners next week Ben Knight reports on “Gun Runners” -the smuggling syndicate that shocked Australian law enforcement.

“I think it was unprecedented…it was probably the major investigation in Australia at that time.” – Detective, Organised Crime Squad

It was one of the biggest illegal firearms busts in Australian history. A criminal syndicate brazenly smuggling weapons into the country, exposing the failings in the nation’s border security.

“It was exceptionally serious and viewed that way.” Detective, Organised Crime Squad

The audacious but simple smuggling conspiracy caught law enforcement off guard and forced a major rethink in how to counteract illegal gun importations.

“How can a large number of Glock semi-automatic pistols…end up in Australia? That’s the wake up call.” Criminal Intelligence Officer

While the smugglers were stopped, the majority of the weapons they brought in have never been recovered, leaving them in the hands of criminals or even would be terrorists.

“Think of how much crime that gun could be connected to in a hundred years. Times that by hundreds of handguns. Its staggering to think what sort of problem that could be faced by law enforcement.” Detective, Organised Crime Squad

Through surveillance videos, phone intercepts and interviews with the investigating officers, Four Corners pieces together the smuggling operation and the police sting that eventually stopped them.

“You’ve got to get rid of it. Did you sign for it?” Gun smuggler caught on surveillance

With the jailing of the group’s ringleader, the story of how this group smuggled weapons into the country, fuelling drive by shootings and gang violence, can now be told.

“They’ve been used in public place shootings…we’ve found that certain guns have been used in armed robberies and the great majority of them have been held in the hands of organised crime figures.” Detective, Police Firearms Squad

Monday 15th May at 8.30pm on ABC.

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