A 24-year-old Winnipeg man has been arrested and charged with several offences related to manufacturing and trafficking a 3D-printed gun and gun parts, police say.
He was arrested after a months-long investigation with the Canada Border Services Agency, the Winnipeg Police Service said Thursday.
Police were notified by the border services agency last November that a parcel containing items commonly used to make 3D-printed guns was destined for Winnipeg.
The two agencies began a co-ordinated gun trafficking investigation.
Police allege that in April 2022, the man tried to purchase firearm parts in Calgary while using another person’s identity. He then successfully purchased firearm parts in Montreal, again using a false identity, police say.
These firearm parts were used to assemble a 3D-printed gun, which was then trafficked to a third party sometime between April and May this year, according to police.
A search warrant was executed in Winnipeg and the 3D-printed gun was recovered, police said.
A second search was carried out on June 25 by the Winnipeg police and the border services agency in the 100 block of Prevette Avenue, just south of Munroe Avenue in northeast Winnipeg, where they seized various 3D-printed gun parts and ammunition, police said.
The 24-year-old accused is facing several charges, including five counts of weapons manufacturing/trafficking, two counts each of identity theft and identity fraud, and possession of a prohibited device.
Police allege he was not acting alone and is part of a larger network, which they continue to investigate.
3D-printed guns used in homicides: police
Insp. Elton Hall, commander of the Winnipeg Police Service’s organized crime unit, says that 11 of the 27 homicides Winnipeg has seen so far this year have involved guns.
Of those, two or three involved improvised or 3D-printed guns, he said.
Hall said the city has one of the highest rates in the country of 3D-printed guns, which compensate for a shortage of illegal street guns.
About half of the 3D-printed guns found in the city are brought in from the United States, he said.
The guns and gun parts involved in the latest investigation were intercepted at a mail-sorting facility in Mississauga, Ont., police said. Border Services could not provide details on where the parcel had come from.
Currently, the Criminal Code doesn’t specifically prohibit the trafficking of gun parts, said Hall.
“You can essentially take a gun apart, move it down the street, assemble it and use it, and while you’re moving it, transporting it … there’s nothing illegal [about that]. There’s nothing the police can do about it,” he said.
The only part of a 3D-printed gun that is currently explicitly prohibited is the handle, he said.
At the end of May, the federal government proposed new gun control measures that would limit the purchase, sale, importation and transfer of handguns in Canada.