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Eight months in jail for Port Coquitlam man from firearm trafficking case

Alex Lytle pleaded guilty to firearms-related crimes from a "straw purchasing" investigation in September 2020.
CFSEU-BC Poco man firearms arrest and charges - June 10, 2021
A Port Coquitlam man has been sentenced to eight months in jail after being charged for five offences related to firearms trafficking for a "straw purchasing" incident related to Lower Mainland crimes.

A 31-year-old Port Coquitlam man will spend eight months behind bars for firearms trafficking in the Lower Mainland.

Alex Lytle pleaded guilty to several related crimes nearly a year after he was charged in a case of straw purchasing, according to an update today (May 19) from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC).

Lytle was arrested after police seized several firearms from a home and storage locker after search warrants were issued in early September 2020, including:

  • Three handguns, one of which had the serial number tampered with
  • Two shotguns
  • Two rifles
  • One SKS semi-automatic rifle
  • One CZ Scorpion semi-automatic rifle
  • Various ammunition
  • High capacity magazines
  • Police-related equipment…
    • police hats
    • shoulder flashes
    • vest and collapsible baton
    • starter pistol

According to CFSEU-BC, a Lower Mainland firearms retailer reported a suspicious purchase by two men, believing the license holder was being influenced and directed by the other to buy guns and ammunition.

An investigation into the allegations revealed the non-license wielding man was also prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm.

Lytle pleaded guilty in court to possession of firearms, prohibited devices and ammunition while prohibited.

He was initially charged four counts of possession of a firearm contrary to an order (prohibition), and one count of possession of a loaded/restricted firearm.

As well, Harjot Chahal of Pitt Meadows has been conditionally sentenced to 21 months in jail for transferring firearms without authority.

The 26-year-old man was charged one count of trafficking a firearm and one of offer to traffic a firearm.

Straw purchasing?

A straw purchaser is someone with a valid gun license who obtains firearms for someone who doesn’t and is looking to use that firearm for a crime.

CFSEU is warning law-abiding gun owners to not put themselves in a situation when it comes to buying a gun for someone else to use.

According to the special B.C. police team, most "straw purchasers" have no previous criminal record and are often recruited to those who intend to use firearms for crime-related purposes.

"Straw purchasing undermines the integrity of the legal sale and possession of firearms, putting them in the hands of individuals who intend to use them for a criminal purpose, jeopardizing the safety of our public," says CFSEU-BC Inspector Joel Hussey.

"The CFSEU-BC Crime Guns Intelligence and Investigations Group (CGIIG) works closely with our policing and government partners to aggressively pursue straw purchasers holding them and the criminals they are linked to accountable and brought to justice."