Calgary police have laid 66 charges against two men who they believe were making 3D printed guns and trafficking them in the city.
Last week, Brandon Vincent-Wagner, 24, and Justin Kumar, 27, were arrested and charged with multiple counts related to unlawful production, trafficking and possession of firearms following a police investigation that started in November 2020.
"3D printed firearms are a growing trend that we are working to address through targeted enforcement," said Acting Staff Sgt. Ben Lawson at a Thursday news conference.
So far this year, the Calgary Police Service has seized 1,229 firearms. More than 300 were crime guns: firearms that were used in crimes or unlawfully stored or possessed.
Nine per cent of the crime guns seized this year were homemade or 3D printed firearms. Police say that is a significant increase compared with previous years. Lawson said that in 2020, when the firearms investigative unit was founded, police seized one or two homemade guns, while this year they seized about 15.
On Wednesday, the province announced it will provide $5.2 million in grants to support programs that prevent crime and keep communities safe. The announcement came as Calgary has seen an uptick in gun violence over the past weeks.
There have been 97 shootings in the city so far this year, almost double of what it saw by this time in 2021, according to police.
3D printed guns a global problem, CPS says
Lawson said 3D firearms function in the same way that regular guns do, and the increased use and production of 3D printed guns is a global problem. While the officer said it's not necessarily easy to obtain 3D printed firearms, some materials needed to make them are not difficult to buy, including a 3D printer and the necessary filament.
Drawings needed to make 3D printed firearms are also more common now online, Lawson said.
"They used to be all only on the dark web because it was more of a nefarious activity. And now in lots of countries where you can legally print your own private firearm … which is illegal in Canada, it is becoming more prevalent to obtain those types of documents on the internet," he said.
The investigation into Vincent-Wagner and Kumar's firearm production operation included a search in May of residences in the 2600 block of Dover Ridge Drive S.E. and the 4300 block of Seton Drive S.E., according to a Thursday news release.
Officers seized several items from the search, including three 3D printers, five complete 3D printed Glock-style handguns with magazines, other firearm parts, ammunition and drugs.
Through forensic analysis, police have linked a separate 3D printed firearm seized this May to the Vincent-Wagner and Kumar's firearm production operation, the release said.
Vincent-Wagner and Kumar are set to appear in court late next month.
Police are asking anyone with information about gun violence or firearm trafficking to contact them at 403-266-1234 or submit tips to Crime Stoppers through its website or by calling 1-800-222-8477.