A firearms trafficking investigation that started earlier this year Surrey recently brought Mounties to Coquitlam.
Dozens of weapons were seized after a search warrant was issued for a building in the city's industrial area south of Highway 1, and a 42-year-old man, who was a priority target for provincial police, was arrested.
Tactical teams and special police forces converged on the business — located in the 1300-block of Ketch Court — on Dec. 1, which resulted in the seizure of a cache of illegal items linked to trafficking, according to a release from Surrey RCMP.
"Firearms trafficking places illegal firearms in the hands of criminals, who use them to commit brazen acts of violence, which we have recently seen across the region," said spokesperson Insp. Ryan Element.
"Although these firearms were seized in Coquitlam, they had the potential to be sold and used to carry out acts of violence in any one of our communities. Seizures of this nature directly impact all of our safety."
Case began earlier this year
The raid in Coquitlam was the result of a yearlong investigation and is still ongoing, as of this publication (Dec. 22).
Surrey RCMP's drug and robbery units, as well as its gang enforcement team, teamed up to crack down on suspected local firearms trafficking involving what's called a Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority (PTEP) target.
Element explained the target was identified as someone who poses "a risk to public safety, either through their behavior or links to organized crime."
"The suspect in this investigation does not have any known gang ties, however poses a risk to public safety though their proliferation of easily accessible prohibited firearms and ammunition," the release added.
The Coquitlam business was the subject of a search warrant by multiple RCMP divisions, including the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team (ERT) and National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST).
Items seized included:
- 37 firearms
- 26 carbine/assault-style rifles
- Six hunting rifles
- Two shotguns
- Two 3D printed Glock "ghost guns"
- One pistol
- More than 100,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibres
- "Several hundred" magazines
- Many loaded and prohibited
- 3-D printed AR15 lower receiver accompanied by a manufactured .22 calibre upper receiver
- .22 caliber upper conversion kit with ammunition
- Suppressor for a rifle
- Four air soft guns
- Body armour
A man was arrested at the scene, but was later released pending the investigation.
Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Vanessa Munn explained this is because police are looking to take all steps necessary before submitting charges to the BC Prosecution Service for approval.