Police arrested a 16-year-old male and seized multiple firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts from a home in Saskatoon.
The investigation that led to the execution of a search warrant in Saskatoon began in Vancouver when the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) found a suspicious package.
CBSA found the package, which was addressed to Saskatoon and shipped from the United States, at a Vancouver mail centre on Sept. 2. When officers examined it, they found two gun barrels and two over-capacity 9-millimetre magazines prohibited in Canada, along with other firearm parts hidden in a commonly used construction tool.
Once the shipment was seized, Vancouver CBSA contacted their investigations unit in Regina.
The case was handed off to Saskatoon Police on Sept. 8, and their Guns and Gangs Unit started an investigation.
Police executed a search warrant for a home in Saskatoon on Sept. 13 and found a loaded, sawed-off .22 calibre rifle and some ammunition. The Guns and Gang unit seized the gun and ammunition, along with an 83-millimetre barrel, 102-millimetre barrel, two 15-round capacity magazines, and bear spray.
A 16-year-old was charged with multiple firearms offences, arrested, but then released on conditions. The investigation is still ongoing.
“We’re taking action to keep Canadians safe from gun violence. A central part of this takes place at our borders, where the CBSA fights smuggling and stops guns from coming into Canada. I want to thank CBSA employees and local law enforcement agencies for their quick and decisive work to keep guns off our streets and protect Canadians,” said Marco Mendicino, minister of public safety, in a joint CBSA and Saskatoon Police press release on Sept. 27.
From 2021 to 2022, CBSA confiscated over 1,200 firearms, more than twice as many as the year prior, breaking a yearly record, according to Mendicino.
Mendicino released a statement on Sept. 16 about reducing gun and gang violence, which mentioned that since 2016, the government has invested $920 million to “crack down on gun smuggling, support law enforcement, and work with other orders of government.” Of that investment, $312 million went to the CBSA and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to improve their intelligence and investigative abilities to try and prevent illicit gun trades.
“CBSA officers and staff are committed to detecting and intercepting prohibited firearms and firearm parts, as well as other weapons and dangerous goods, before they enter Canada,” said Brad Wozny, CBSA regional director general of the Prairie Region.
“The seizure announced today is a great example of how our officers work together across jurisdictions and with local law enforcement partners to keep Canadians safe,” he added.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2021, four in ten homicides were firearm-related. The firearm was recovered in 29 percent of these homicides, and police considered almost half to be gang-related.
“Saskatoon, like many other communities across the country, has seen an increase in the number of firearms tied to criminal activity. Partnerships with agencies like the CBSA give police a greater opportunity to be proactive in removing these firearms from the community,” said Deputy Chief of the Saskatoon Police Randy Huisman.