Surrey RCMP says it has seized dozens of allegedly illegal firearms from a Coquitlam warehouse but will need to wait on testing and tracing of the weapons to file criminal charges against a 42-year-old man found in possession of them.
Surrey RCMP Drug Unit, Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team, and Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit began tracking the man in early 2022, according to Surrey RCMP spokesperson Vanessa Munn.
On Dec. 1 Mounties conducted a search warrant with the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) at a warehouse in the 1300-block of Ketch Court in Coquitlam.
There, Munn said police located 37 firearms (including 26 carbine/assault style rifles), a 3D printed AR15, four air soft rifles, body armour, over 100,000 rounds of ammunition and “several hundred” magazines.
The man was arrested and "later released pending further investigation,” said Munn, explaining that testing will need to show the guns are functioning before BC Prosecution Service can approve a full suite of charges.
“We do anticipate recommending multiple charges,” Munn told Glacier Media.
“The investigation revealed that the suspect was selling firearms and demonstrated no discretion when it came to whom the firearms were sold to,” stated the Surrey RCMP on Dec. 21.
The suspect, who was initially from Surrey but found to be residing in the warehouse, does not have any known gang links, noted police, who have no timeline for the charge approval.
“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 Surrey RCMP proactive enforcement officer Inspector 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.