Western Region Crime Squad police detectives have arrested three men and seized firearms and ammunition as part of an ongoing investigation into a series of rural burglaries.
Detectives were assisted by the Special Operations Group who arrested a 27-year-old man in Queen Street Ararat, following a short foot chase, about 2pm on Tuesday.
Officers then executed warrants in Ararat and Creswick where nine firearms were located and seized.
The firearms seized included an assault rifle, 303 Enfield bolt action rifle and several other rifles and shotguns.
A significant quantity of ammunition was also seized along with alleged crossbows, other weapons including knives and two conducted energy devices.
Two men aged 34 and 36, were also arrested at a property in Reed Street in Creswick during the execution of one of the warrants.
The 27-year-old man has been hit with more than 30 charges including six counts of burglary and theft, theft of five vehicles and theft from five vehicles, three home raids as well as single counts of arson, conduct endangering life and firearms charges such as possessing a traffickable amount of firearms.
The 34-year-old man has been charged with three counts of both burglary, aggravated burglary and theft of vehicles and firearms.
The 36-year-old man was charged with firearms offences including possessing a traffickable amount of firearms.
Detectives are investigating whether some of the firearms are linked to a burglary during July and possibly to break-ins committed in 2021.
The men have all been remanded in custody to appear before Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information is requested to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
In late March this year more than 50 kilograms of drugs and 24 firearms were seized in the south-west's largest firearm-focused operation.
Local specialist police units and Melbourne's public order response team have attended dozens of residential and rural properties during the five-day operation.
Nine people were arrested during the raids, which netted 24 firearms, more than 30 kilograms of cannabis, 15 grams of methamphetamine, 12 grams of MDMA and prescription medication, including morphine.
Warrnambool police Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Asenjo said the operation focused on illicit firearms, as well as those who legitimately possess them and people subjected to Firearm Prohibition Orders.
Introduced in May 2018, FPOs prohibit people, including serious violent offenders, from acquiring, possessing or carrying a firearm or firearm-related item.
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