Handguns hidden at University of Calgary lead to arrest

Police have charged a former University of Calgary student after two semi-automatic pistols were found hidden on campus.

Man, 24, faces numerous firearms and drug charges after police conclude 7-week investigation

The .45-calibre handguns were hidden in a false ceiling in a public hallway of the Earth Sciences building. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Police have charged a former University of Calgary student with weapons and drug offences after two guns were found hidden on campus.

The unloaded .45 calibre semi-automatic pistols were found in a false ceiling in the Earth Sciences building on Aug. 27 by some electrical contractors, police said.

Police undertook a seven-week investigation, which led them to a 24-year-old man who they arrested and charged on Friday.

Police said the risk to students and staff at the university was "minimal".

Drug connection

"The initial concern was this was for a school shooting," said Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques, but police later concluded that the case was related to the drug-trafficking trade.

University of Calgary students Denise Dacosta (left) and Angie Penberthy say it's disturbing to know that guns were found on campus back in August. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

The suspect now faces numerous charges, including two counts of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

He also faces three charges for trafficking marijuana and possession of cocaine in relation to an on-campus incident on Sept. 3.

He is due in court on Nov. 6.

The university says it worked closely with CPS during the investigation.

"The university did not receive any threats related to these weapons and at no point was the safety of students, faculty or staff jeopardized," said Rick Gysen, manager of community operations and campus security, in a release.

The university says it can offer no further comment as the matter is now before the courts.

'Horrifying'

But some students say the case is disturbing.

"Horrifying… I had no idea there were guns on campus," said Angie Penberthy, who studies in the same building where the guns were found.

Her friend, Denise Dacosta says what's even more troubling is not knowing about the discovery until now.

"It's a little bit concerning just to know that these things can happen and as the student body we have no idea," Dacosta told CBC News.

The university put out a statement on its website earlier this month — about six weeks after the fact.

But a spokesperson says the university held off on releasing information at the request of police so as not to compromise the investigation.

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