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Terror concerns after police raids uncovered potential bomb-making materials

Terror concerns after police raids uncovered potential bomb-making materials

 Affected Countries: australia;

Police have arrested a former member of the Defence Force and seized chemicals that could be used to manufacture explosives during a major operation in Picton, south of Sydney.

Investigators are looking into whether Michael Brown, 54, who allegedly has extensive training with bombs from his military experience, is a “doomsday prepper” or was preparing for an act of terrorism using the chemicals he had collected.

The raids on two addresses in Picton, the man’s home on Argyle Street and another home on nearby Wild Street, started on Tuesday morning as part of a joint investigation by NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police into alleged firearms offences.

The investigation was launched after the AFP became aware of a number of alleged imports of firearms parts, chemicals, 3D printing materials, lab equipment and portable radio equipment earlier this month. The agency then passed the intelligence on to NSW Police.

Searches of the houses uncovered a stockpile of chemicals, bulletproof plates that could be used in body armour, and $200,000 in cash, according to police.

“Currently there are specialist police making assessments of a range of different chemicals potentially used to make explosives,” Detective Chief Inspector Paul Albury, crime manager of Camden Police Area Command, said. “We already have serious concerns about the stockpile.”

Officers from the bomb squad and counter-terrorism command were among those involved in the operation on Tuesday. Police were assisted by hazardous material specialists from Fire and Rescue NSW.

Mr Brown’s family are said to be shocked at the arrest and are assisting police with their investigation.

Neighbours said Mr Brown generally kept to himself although occasionally exchanged pleasantries.

One neighbour who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had seen him receive several packages.

“There were a lot of police officers [this morning], I didn’t know what was happening,” the neighbour said. “Knowing now what he was [allegedly] trying to do is pretty scary.”

Officers were securing the two addresses on Tuesday and the searches could take several days as specialist police examine the materials.

Concerns about the imports led police to apply for a firearms prohibition order and a weapons prohibition order against Mr Brown before he was arrested.

He was being interviewed by detectives on Tuesday afternoon at Narellan Police Station and was expected to be charged by the end of the day.

“Police have not established any ongoing threat to the community,” a statement from NSW Police said.

Source: SMH

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