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Drug bust nets guns

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Whistler RCMP discover sawed-off shotgun, rifle, and marijuana

An anonymous tip-off from "a concerned citizen" led the Whistler RCMP detachment to 15 pounds of processed marijuana, and, more importantly, an illegal sawed-off double barrel shotgun and an unregistered rifle capable of semi-automatic firing.

After receiving the tip, the RCMP immediately sent an undercover officer to Brio on Sept. 30, who observed the suspects moving out of their house while a new group of people moved in. The police waited until the suspects were on the road in a car and a van, then pulled them over at approximately 6 p.m.

Charges were laid against two men and a woman.

One male, 23 years old, was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of a prohibited firearm. The second male, 38, was charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking, transporting a firearm in a careless manner, and production of a banned substance.

The female, 22, was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

What made this case particularly unusual, aside from the presence of firearms, was the fact that the woman and the 23-year-old man were Polish nationals, legally within Canada on tourist visas. Immigration Canada was contacted, and both of the accused may face deportation.

The 38 year old was described as a local man with no fixed address.

The three were arrested without complications, and the 23-year-old male took responsibility for the shotgun, which was loaded. The rifle wasn?t loaded, but there were bullets in the van.

More than the drugs, the RCMP were happy to get two guns off of the street.

"The guns are definitely a big thing for us, for the public safety issue and for us as officers," said Sgt. Norm McPhail, the operations supervisor for the Whistler detachment.

"You?d rather not find something like that. When you do it creates a little more vigilance in officers on the road. They?re always aware, but something like this says ?here?s what you might be facing?."

He said the tip indicated that there might be a rifle, but they were surprised to discover the shotgun.

The police no longer attach a street value to seized drugs, which in this case they believe were the product of an outdoor grow operation. Prices vary with quality and quantity, but the approximate bulk value would be about $30,000.

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