Just about every time Red Deer RCMP pull over a stolen vehicle, they find guns.
“We’re anticipating firearms to be there all the time now,” said Insp. Sean Boser, who is in charge of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams’ regional efforts.
“Unfortunately, that’s just the way it’s gone.”
Red Deer Supt. Gerald Grobmeier agrees the weapons landscape has changed dramatically in his nearly 30 years of experience.
“When we started policing, it was very rare to come across a firearm in an investigation. Now, it’s almost commonplace.”
The latest haul of weapons — these found at a Clearview Ridge home — was on display on Thursday at downtown RCMP headquarters, where officers talked about the increasing numbers of weapons they are finding in the hands of the wrong people.
More than a dozen firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, two handguns, a prohibited magazine and 9,000 rounds of ammunition, were recovered last week by ALERT’s Red Deer organized crime and gang team.
Police also found 56 grams of cocaine worth about $5,600 on the street.
“These firearms are not used for hunting. They’re there for a very nefarious purpose,” said Grobmeier.
They were found following an investigation that began only a few weeks ago. While guns are common, police do not usually come across arsenals of this size, police said.
A preliminary check found that four of the weapons were reported stolen after a break-and-enter in Three Hills in August.
Police do not know where they all came from, but said there has been an increase in gun trafficking.
“There’s an intimidation piece as well, instilling fear,” said Boser.
All the firearms seized will be submitted for forensic analysis and ballistic testing to determine if they were used in any criminal activities.
Two people were arrested when the search was carried out. Zane Middlemiss, a 26-year-old man, and Sage Sunderwald, a 21-year-old woman, have been charged with a total of 80 firearm- and drug-related offences.