Toronto

Man who smuggled record number of guns into Ontario sentenced to 8 years in prison

Randy Jackson of Ann Arbor, Mich., was sentenced to eight years in prison in a Toronto courtroom Friday, after admitting he sold 67 guns on Toronto’s black market in 2017 - the highest number of firearms ever smuggled by a single person caught in Ontario.

Randy Jackson admitted he sold 67 guns on Toronto’s black market in 2017 - an Ontario record for 1 person

Michigan resident Randy Jackson admitted that he smuggled 67 firearms into Ontario in 2017 and trafficked them in Toronto on the Black Market. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison in the Ontario Court of Justice on January 11, 2019. (submitted )

A Michigan man was sentenced to eight years in prison in a Toronto courtroom Friday, after admitting he sold 67 guns on the black market in 2017 — the highest number of firearms ever smuggled by a single person caught in Ontario.

Randy Jackson listened quietly in Ontario Superior Court as Justice Riun Shandler read out the reasons for the sentence. The American citizen admitted he bough the guns in the United States, and then brought them to Canada to be sold in Toronto.

"He could be under no illusion that these guns were being acquired for lawful or innocent purposes … He would be well aware of the lethality associated with firearms as a specialist with the National Guard who had experienced active duty overseas," Shandler told the court.

In his sentence, Shandler stated over a nine month period in 2017, on 40 separate occasions, Jackson went to gun stores in Michigan to purchase firearms to be sold on the black market in Canada.

"His actions were premeditated and repeated over and over again … Of the [guns he sold in Canada],  52… are still in the hands of criminals… He bears some responsibility for contributing to the gun shootings and resultant tragedies that are seemingly a daily occurence in this city now," Shandler said.

Motivation would be 'greed,' detective says

Toronto Police Det.Sgt. Rob Di Danieli, of the Guns of the Gangs Unit, was the officer in charge of the investigation.

"I would say the motivation for it would be greed," Di Danieli said.

"You can make a lot of money selling these gun on the black market," he added.

"The guns that we see coming up from the States are getting bought for anywhere between 200 and 500 dollars U.S. Up here they are selling for upwards of 3,500 to 4,000 dollars, so it's a significant markup," Di Danieli said.

"If you bring up 20 or 30 guns you could make 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars."

Fifteen of the 67 guns Jackson sold on the black market have turned up at crime scenes in the GTA. One was used in a shooting where the victim was injured, but survived.

Now Di Danieli says the Toronto Police Service and Guns and Gangs Unit "has turned its mind to how we recover [the outstanding] 52 guns. We'll be getting them for years to come."  

No explanation for Jackson's conduct, judge says

The judge said there was "nothing in Mr. Jackson's background that would provide any explanation for his conduct."

Jackson, 35, is a military veteran who had no criminal background and came from a loving and supportive family. He joined the Michigan National Guard and served twice overseas in 2004, and again in 2006.

He lived in Lansing, Mich., and has been married to a woman from London, Ont., for 12 years. He has two children with her and has also acted as a father to his partner's other two children from a previous relationship.

At the time of his arrest, he was working at Michigan University Hospital in Ann Arbor, while enrolled in Health Administration studies at Eastern Michigan University.

Because he was low risk and had no criminal record, Jackson was able to obtain a Nexus pass to cross the border with little scrutiny to see his family in Canada.

He first caught the attention of Toronto Police in July 2017 when they traced a loaded Glock 19 9mm handgun to his name during one of their investigations.

Police also noticed on the same day he bought guns in Michigan, he would often cross the border to Ontario.

Jackson was arrested in October 2017 when border agents found three guns hidden in his underwear as he was crossing into Ontario over the Thanksgiving weekend.

The judge said Jackson's children will be deprived of their father for some time to come and his plans for furthering his education are on hold indefinitely. Any plan to immigrate to Canada to be with is family is over. He will also face deportation following his release and face further proceedings in the United States.  

Detective has 'a hard time' feeling sorry for Jackson

"I have a hard time feeling real sorry for him", said Di Danieli, who was disappointed Jackson didn't do more to help in recovering the guns he smuggled.

"I mean I can surmise why he didn't co-operate, he's probably more concerned for his family, which I can appreciate, but I am sure the families of people that might can get harmed by these guns won't appreciate that explanation," the detective said.

"I think he is remorseful … but I would have appreciated that remorse at an earlier stage with some assistance."