Member of Canadian Forces Charged; Weapons, Design Drawings Seized
ORILLIA, ON, April 23, 2013 /CNW/ - A Québec resident has been charged with more than 30 illegal weapons production and trafficking offences following a lengthy, complex joint forces investigation by police in Ontario, Québec and the United States.
During an online investigation into the sale, distribution, and export of various firearms-enhancing parts, the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requested assistance from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) -led Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) to identify and investigate transactions and shipments of several parts and enhancements for prohibited weapons, including conversion devices and silencers.
The enhancements, among other things, would have allowed end users to use a selector switch to convert semi-automatic firearms to fully-automatic firearms. Other enhancements would allow the end user to augment the firearms with an over-capacity ammunition magazine. Also discovered are illegally-produced assault rifle lower receivers with no serial numbers as well as illegally-produced handguns. Since they were not produced by a legitimate manufacturer, they do not have traceable serial numbers.
During the investigation, search warrants were executed at CFB Borden and at several locations in Québec. During the course of the investigation, police seized as offence-related property:
- Hundreds of firearms, enhancements, and parts - including silencers and switches, thousands of rounds of ammunition;
- documents, manuals, blueprints and templates related to the manufacture of prohibited firearms parts and enhancements;
- a computer and several portable drives;
- shipping information; and,
- a 2008 motor vehicle.
This investigation was supported by and involved members from the OPP Electronic Crimes Section, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Sûreté du Québec, and the Department of National Defence Canadian Forces National Investigations Service.
Police have charged 36 year-old David THERIAULT of Lyster, Québec with multiple counts of the following offences:
- Importing or Exporting Firearm Component;
- Importing or Exporting Firearm;
- Knowledge of Unauthorized Possession of Weapon;
- Possession of Firearm, Weapon, Device or Ammunition for Purpose of Trafficking;
- Trafficking in Firearm, Weapon, Device or Ammunition; and,
- Unauthorized Possession of Weapon.
Mr. Theriault is also facing charges in the United States including:
- 26 U.S. Code 5844 - importation of machine guns without a license to do so;
- 18 U.S. Code 545 - smuggling into the United States.
Mr. Theriault remains in custody in Ontario and is scheduled to appear in court in Barrie on May 2, 2013. The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending. Members of PWEU will be following up with the international aspects of the investigation while members of ATF will be investigating connections in the United States.
"This investigation is another clear and strong message that gun smuggling, the manufacture and distribution of firearms enhancements, and their inherent, dangerous criminal activities will not be tolerated." - Chris Lewis, Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police.
"The Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit continues to demonstrate how multi-jurisdictional partnerships and tactical approaches to law enforcement can interrupt and intercept illegal weapons and enhancements." - Chief Superintendent Mike Armstrong, Commander, OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau.
Follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/OPP_News
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
D/Inspector Patricia DOBBIN
Manager -- Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit
Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau
Ontario Provincial Police