SADDLE LAKE - A three-month long investigation by Edmonton Police has resulted in two men from Saddle Lake being charged, and multiple firearms being seized.
On Dec. 22, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) released information about the charges, and noted that the EPS Firearms Investigation Unit worked alongside the St. Paul RCMP Crime Reduction Unit, the RCMP Emergency Response Team, the Vegreville RCMP and numerous members at the EPS during the investigation.
In late September 2020, Edmonton Police received information that a man was selling a prohibited firearm.
"It was reported to police that the male was advertising the prohibited gun on a local online buy and sell website frequently used to sell firearms," according to information from EPS. "Following a lengthy investigation by the EPS Firearms Investigation Unit (FIU), police determined that an organized criminal network was illegally obtaining firearms and ammunition and trafficking them to others online and in-person."
According to police, in some cases the firearms were “straw purchased,” which occurs when an individual with a valid firearms license purchases a firearm for those who cannot lawfully purchase firearms for themselves.
On Dec. 15 FIU investigators, with assistance from the St. Paul RCMP Crime Reduction Unit, executed search warrants at two residences in Saddle Lake. FIU seized nine firearms and 10 prohibited magazines. Two men were taken into custody without incident.
“This particular case illustrates how firearms can be illegally obtained in a number of ways, including via firearms trafficking and straw purchasing, and are often sold in areas well beyond where they were originally sourced,” says Sgt. Eric Stewart with FIU. “There are no boundaries to firearms trafficking, and once the firearms enter the illegal market, they can be trafficked numerous times in numerous jurisdictions until seized by police.”
Police have charged Keano Gadwa, 22, and Ian Cardinal, 30, both of Saddle Lake, with a total of 15 firearms related offences including, firearms trafficking, firearm possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a prohibited/restricted firearm with ammunition and unauthorized possession of a prohibited device/magazine.
"Both suspects are known to police and additional arrests and charges are pending," according to EPS.
“It is imperative that we continue to target firearms trafficking and remove these guns off the streets and hold those responsible,” says Supt. Mark Hancock of Eastern Alberta District RCMP. “This is a great example of how intelligence-led investigations, collaboration and partnerships lead to successful arrests.
The following items were seized during the investigation:
- Gold painted DPMS, Panther Arms, 223/556mm AR-15
- Black semi-automatic SKS rifle, chambered in 7.62 x 39 caliber
- Brown painted semi-automatic Kodiak Defence WK180C, chambered in .223 Remington
- Black semi-automatic HiPoint 995 Carbine, chambered in 9mm with pistol grip and scope
- Black Kel Tec SU16 Tactical Rifle
- Two Spector LTD, WS-MCR, semi-automatic rifle, chambered in .223 caliber
- Lockhart Tactical, FD12, bullpup semi-automatic, 12-gauge shotgun
- Winchester .22 rifle
- Numerous rounds of ammunition representative of the calibers of the trafficked firearms
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