2 charged with weapons trafficking in connection with Winnipeg investigation into 3D-printed guns
Pair accused of trafficking, directing production of parts, fully assembled 'ghost guns': Winnipeg police
Two men have been charged with weapons trafficking in connection with an investigation into the production of 3D-printed guns that started in November, Winnipeg police say.
With help from Canada Border Services Agency investigators, they arrested a 23-year-old man on Dec. 21 and a 24-year-old man on Jan. 30. Each was charged with two counts of weapons trafficking.
Investigators allege the pair, both of whom were known to police, directed the production and trafficking of several "ghost guns" between June and December 2022.
The men were already in the Winnipeg Remand Centre and Headingley Correctional Centre when they were arrested on the latest charges, a Wednesday news release from Winnipeg police said.
The 23-year-old was initially arrested and charged after a Dec. 16 incident, when a 3D-printed gun was pointed at someone at a mall in the 1400 block of Portage Avenue, Winnipeg police Const. Dani McKinnon confirmed on Wednesday.
She didn't identify the mall, but that's the same block where Polo Park shopping centre is located.
Police were called that day after reports of a man with a gun. Mall security tracked a suspect to a restaurant nearby on St. James Street, where he was arrested and police seized the gun, according to a news release at the time.
Police believe he got into an altercation at the mall and pulled the gun on a male known to him. He was charged with pointing a firearm as well as several firearm possession charges, including carrying a concealed weapon.
5 ghost guns seized last year: police
The arrests of the 23- and 24-year-old men come after two others — age 19 and 30 — were arrested and charged with weapons trafficking offences in November.
In early December, Winnipeg police and the Canada Border Services Agency alleged a criminal network paid legitimate 3D-printer services to make the receiver part of handguns. The parts were then combined with other parts to assemble ghost guns for sale.
The 19- and 30-year-old were arrested after two Winnipeg residences were searched and officers found a series of 3D printers, 15 3D-manufactured firearm receivers at one location and seven at another, police said in an early December news release.
Police from across the country and at the Canada-U.S. border have noted a rise in the production and distribution of 3D-printed parts and fully assembled ghost guns — a name that stems from the fact they're untraceable, since they don't have serial numbers or other identifying markings.
Const. McKinnon said Winnipeg police seized 14 guns with 3D-printed parts last year and five fully assembled ghost guns.
The first time police made arrests related to ghost guns in Winnipeg was in 2020, and police and border services agents have found more in the ensuing years.
In Wednesday's news release, Winnipeg police issued a reminder that 3D-printed guns are illegal to manufacture and sell, and asked anyone with information about the production or sale of such guns to contact investigators at 204-986-3258 or call Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.