An American woman has been arrested at Sydney airport after a 24-karat gold-plated handgun was discovered in her luggage.
Australian authorities say the 28-year-old woman was a US citizen who had traveled to Sydney from Los Angeles.
The Australian Border Force said in a statement that the suspect, who has not been identified, was charged with breaching customs laws that prevent weapons from entering the country.
Following the discovery on Sunday, she was detained before appearing in court and being released on bail.
ABF says she could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, but also the cancellation of her visa and removal from the country depending on how the case against her proceeds.
“Time and time again, we have seen how good ABF officers are at identifying and stopping illegal and highly dangerous goods from crossing the Australian border,” said Justin Bathurst, Commander East of Enforcement and Detained Goods at the Australian Border Force. Australia.
“The ABF is Australia’s first and most important line of defence. ABF officers are committed to protecting our community by working with law enforcement partners to prevent items like unregistered firearms from passing across the border.”
Australia has some of the toughest gun laws in the world which were introduced after a shooting in the Tasmanian city of Port Arthur in April 1996 that killed 35 victims and injured 23 others.
The new laws prohibited the sale and import of all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, requiring most buyers to present a legitimate reason of ownership and wait 28 days to complete the purchase.
It also resulted in a mandatory arms buyback with the Australian government confiscating and destroying nearly 700,000 weapons. That move alone halved the number of gun-owning households in the country.
Australia has seen only one mass shooting since gun laws were introduced.