Calgary·Updated

Charges laid in 3D-printed 'ghost guns' case believed to be a first in province

A southern Alberta man is facing 11 charges, accused of 3D-printing firearms parts in what police believe is a first in the province.

Dan Forsyth, 53, of Picture Butte faces 11 firearms charges including trafficking

Firearm parts made with a 3D printer were seized from Dan Forsyth's home and tested by RCMP. Police say they were functional. (ALERT)

A southern Alberta man is facing 11 charges, accused of 3D-printing firearms parts in what police believe is a first in the province.

Dan Forsyth, 53, of Picture Butte was initially arrested in mid-August. 

He now faces charges, including several related to firearms trafficking.

When investigators executed a search warrant, they found several 3D printers as well as manufactured firearms parts, including pistol lower frames, an assault rifle receiver and frame, silencers and a bump stock to give a semi-automatic firearm a rapid-fire capability.

After the seized parts were sent to the RCMP lab and found to be functional, charges were laid against Forsyth, according to Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT).

"ALERT believes this is the first time in Alberta that charges have been laid in relation to the 3D-printing of firearms," said the policing agency in a release.

This is one of the items seized by police in a 3D-printing firearms investigation. (ALERT)

Ghost guns

3D-printed firearms are sometimes called "ghost guns" because they don't have serial numbers and are difficult, if not impossible, to trace.

"This seizure shows how technology can pose new threats and challenges to law enforcement," said Staff Sgt. Leon Borbandy with ALERT.

Borbandy says the investigation is still active and police are looking at the possibility that previously printed parts have been sold. 

The officer said past organized crime investigations have turned up similar illegal printed gun parts.

Trafficking allegations

Forsyth's charges include: 

  • Offering to traffic firearms.

  • Manufacturing a restricted firearm.
  • Manufacturing a non-restricted firearm.
  • Manufacturing a prohibited device.
  • Possession of firearms for the purpose of trafficking.
  • Possession of a prohibited device for the purpose of trafficking.
  • Unauthorized possession of a non-restricted firearm.
  • Unauthorized possession of a restricted firearm.
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon.
  • Unauthorized possession of a prohibited device.
  • Possession of a weapon contrary to a prohibition order.

The investigation spanned nearly 18 months and involved ALERT, the RCMP's national weapons enforcement support team, Lethbridge police and the Picture Butte RCMP.

Forsyth will be in court next month.

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