Edmonton… Eight guns, some equipped with silencers, were seized in a recent firearms trafficking investigation by ALERT. Five Edmonton men have been arrested.
ALERT Edmonton’s organized crime and gang team conducted the investigation over the previous two months and explored a suspected criminal network that was trafficking firearms. Officers with Edmonton Police Service, RCMP, and National Weapons Enforcement Support team were involved in the investigation.
Eight firearms were seized on September 23, 2016 after a series of four search warrants were conducted in west Edmonton. ALERT seized three rifles, five handguns, body armour, silencers, and a crate of various rounds of ammunition.
ALERT alleges that the firearms were being lawfully acquired and then fraudulently supplied to Edmonton-area criminal networks. In some cases, the firearms were being altered and defaced before hitting the black market. Many of the firearms had their serial numbers removed and a Norinco CQ 5.56 rifle had been converted to shoot fully automatic.
A workshop in one of the homes was being used to convert firearms and manufacture silencers, ALERT alleges.
A total of 107 charges have been laid against five individuals. Silas Armich, 38, Adrian Barnes, 38, Desmond Rock, 36, and Justin Shipowich, 38, were arrested on September 23. James Pike, 38, was arrested on October 18. The charges range from numerous firearms offences, including firearms trafficking, to providing a false statement.
Barnes has a lifetime firearms prohibition stemming from a previous conviction for importing prohibited firearms. He was arrested in January 2009 while attempting to enter Canada with 10 semi-automatic handguns.
ALERT begin its investigation in September 2016 after receiving information about suspected firearms trafficking.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime. Members of Alberta Sheriffs, Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work in ALERT.