Charges laid in two-year gun trafficking investigation by Edmonton police

EDMONTON — An Alberta man is accused of “straw purchasing” – or buying guns for those who aren’t allowed to – and trafficking them after a modified weapon was found at the scene of 2019 carjacking.

Although the handgun’s serial number had been defaced, the RCMP’s National Forensic Labroatory Services traced it back to registered owner Bradley Sawchuk.

Police allege Sawchuk straw purchased three handguns between 2018 and 2020 for the purpose of trafficking.

They are asking anyone who knows the location of those firearms or information about alleged trafficking by Sawchuck to contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The 34-year-old from Gunn, Alta., is charged with firearm trafficking, firearms possession for the purpose of trafficking, and altering, defacing or removing a serial number.

“This trend is prevalent in our investigations: individuals who want firearms for criminal purposes can obtain their firearms domestically through straw purchasers,” Sgt. Eric Stewart with the Edmonton Police Service’s firearms investigations unit.

“We are not targeting law-abiding gun owners. Our focus is on the individuals who traffic their firearms to the criminal market. There’s definitely a strong correlation between illegal firearms and violence, which poses great risk to public safety.”

As of Sept. 21, EPS had responded to 101 shootings in 2020 and seized more than 750 guns. 

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