Police have seized a massive arsenal of guns at a remote Chilcotin lake believed to have been destined for B.C. gangs.
A Tatla Lake man faces numerous firearms and weapons-related charges after a police raid that netted close to 200 firearms and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition.
In early June the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. were tipped that the the 63-year-old man, a long-time resident of the community between Williams Lake and Bella Coola, was trafficking firearms and prohibited devices.
Officers say the man was allegedly selling assault-style semi-automatic rifles with over-capacity magazines, amongst other guns and weapons.
He was arrested at his home on the 16400 block of Highway 20 on Aug. 23. A search warrant resulted in police finding and seizing 183 firearms of various makes, models, and calibres, along with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition and prohibited devices such as over-capacity magazines.
CFSEU officials say some of the weapons have a street value of several thousand dollars and in all likelihood would have made their way into the hands of gang members and criminals around B.C.
“Many of these guns are capable of firing rounds that could pass through vehicles, doors, walls and even body armour,” CFSEU-BC spokesperson Sergeant Lindsey Houghton said.
“That is an unacceptable risk to the public and the police. While this seizure is not believed to be tied to gang activity at this time, it appears that these guns and ammunition were destined to be sold to the highest bidder and the fear was, had we not acted immediately, that the guns could eventually make their way into the hands of violent criminals around British Columbia.”
Some of the weapons seized included AR-type rifles, SKS semi-automatic rifles and handguns.
“Guns like the ones seized are highly uncontrollable and there is a significant risk for collateral damage should they be used by criminals,” said. Cpl. Frank Grosspietsch with the RCMP’s National Weapons Enforcement Support Team, who assisted in the investigation.
Investigators are now attempting to determine the origin of the guns and forensically examining each one.
Police don’t yet know how the guns came into Canada and into the man’s possession.
The man arrested, who has no criminal record, has been released from custody pending the continuation of the investigation and charges from Crown counsel.