December 18, 2013 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops RCMP's top cop emphasized organized crime as a priority yesterday after multiple weapons seizures recently in the city.
"We're faced with situations where organized crime groups are reaching out into the city," said Supt. Brad Mueller. "Today, I want to emphatically state that that remains a priority for us."
Mueller would not say specifically what, if any, organized crime groups have roots in the Tournament Capital. However, he said yesterday during a press conference two recent incidents are believed to be related to organized crime. Police have also reported a rise in crystal meth use in the city and a local Rotary club was asked to help tackle the problem with an organized community task force.
Police executed a search warrant last week at a mobile home park in Westsyde. Multiple weapons were seized on the 1700 block of Westsyde Road including a sawed off shotgun, sawn off pieces from wooden gun stocks, three long barrelled firearms, an air rifle, a large quantity of ammunition, gun parts and a machete. Mueller said guns are altered primarily for concealment and accessibility and are usually used in connection to the drug trade, for debt collection, intimidation and acts of violence.
"As you can see we have a number of gun parts here that are not associated to some of the weapons that were seized," Mueller said during a media viewing of the weapons. "Obviously that is somewhat concerning to us."
"These weapons were clearly intended for criminal use."
Charles Gerald Patrick, 57, remains in custody and faces multiple charges after the seizure. Police say the warrant was issued after Patrick was stopped by a general duty officer on Dec. 11 about a separate investigation for fraudulent vehicle registration and was caught with a loaded and sawed-off 410 shotgun concealed under his jacket. Upon search of the vehicle, police seized ammo, marijuana, a large machete and some steroids.
"Mr. Patrick is not a known gang member, but he was found in the presence and is a known associate with persons of interest," Mueller said.
Mueller would not specify any gang, and he said the investigation is ongoing. Patrick is expected to appear in court on Dec. 19 for seven firearms related charges.
A separate search warrant was executed following an investigation into the shooting of a 15-year-old Sunday in North Kamloops. Some of the occupants left the scene before police arrived and others were uncooperative, however, a search warrant was issued to search the home on the 1100 block of Chateau Street resulting in the seizure of multiple stolen items.
Police say firearms, computers, jewellery, purses, a bass guitar, cameras, prescription medications and personal identification cards such as medical cards, passports, bank and credit cards were recovered from the property.
"Those types of documents are linked back to criminal activity and certainly a lot of that is geared (to) organized crime," Mueller said.
Police believe the items are linked to at least nine residential break-ins in the last six weeks, and they are actively pursuing the rightful owners. No new details were released about the shooting and it remains under investigation. Mueller said the weapons seizures and arrests in recent weeks are part of ongoing measures by RCMP to combat organized crime.
"We continue to undergo disruptive measures and take enforcement action against the criminal activities of organized crime groups looking to become established here in Kamloops," Mueller said. "We want to prevent them from getting a foothold in the city."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013