US Homeland Security in NSW operation
A man has been arrested after Border Force and US Homeland Security officials descended upon a home in regional New South Wales and uncovered a "suspicious substance".
Police say the operation, on Violet St in South Bathurst, is ongoing and a 50-metre exclusion zone is in place.
A 36-year-old man is expected to be charged over the alleged importation of illegal firearm parts and drug manufacturing equipment.
NSW Police began a joint investigation with Australian Border Force and United States Homeland Security Investigations last month "after receiving information in relation to the alleged importation of firearm parts and drug manufacturing equipment into Australia from the US, Hong Kong, China, Germany and Japan", police and the ABF said in a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon.
"Following extensive investigations, NSWPF officers from Western Region Enforcement Squad and investigators from ABF and HSI executed a NSW search warrant and a customs search and seizure warrant at a home at South Bathurst just after 6am today," it reads.
The operation is supported by local police and the dog squad.
"After investigators uncovered a suspicious substance inside the home, assistance was requested from Fire and Rescue NSW's hazmat to render the area safe," police said.
Specialist officers were also sent from Sydney from the Rescue and Bomb Disposal Unit and the Drug and Firearms Squad's Chemical Operations Unit.
The 36-year-old male resident was served with Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Orders before being arrested and taken to Bathurst Police Station where he is expected to be charged.
NSW Police Inspector David Abercrombie told reporters at the scene an "unknown substance" was discovered in the home.
He said officers "were a bit concerned" about the substance and contacted the hazmat unit who decided on a 50-metre exclusion zone.
"They've made an assessment and with that assessment they've decided to enforce an exclusion zone around the house at this stage, until further testing is done and we can work out what it is," Insp Abercrombie, the officer in charge of Bathurst Police Station, said.
"The decision was made this morning that a house immediately beside the premises that the police were at and one behind were doorknocked and asked to evacuate.
"One of those was already vacant so that wasn't an issue but the resident of the house next-door has left the location."
Insp Abercrombie said they "don't know" what the substance is.
"There are concerns that it's an unknown substance that could possibly pose a danger to not only the police that were inside the house but possibly residents around the area," he said.
The operation is expected to take a number of hours.
Earlier on Wednesday, a NSW Police spokeswoman told news.com.au: "A planned police operation is under way in the state's Central West this morning."
"The joint agency operation which involves the NSW Police Force, Australian Border Force and US Homeland Security Investigations commenced about 6am at a home at South Bathurst," she said.
"Investigators are also being assisted by Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance. Members of the community are urged to avoid the area at this time."
Originally published as US Homeland Security in NSW operation