West Kelowna, B.C., man arrested for making bombs not connected to terrorism

Homicide investigators outside a gang shooting in Coquitlam in August. Picture via CBC.A British Columbia man has been arrested in the apparent process of buildings explosive devices but the public can breathe easy, sort of, because authorities do not believe there is a link to terrorists.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia has announced the arrest of a 36-year-old man who was allegedly building bombs in his West Kelowna home.

Investigators searched the home, and another in nearby Oyama, and found "bomb making equipment" including timers, batteries, wiring, shotgun shells and black powder. No finished bombs were discovered, although several bows and two semi-automatic assault-style rifles with over-capacity magazines were seized.

According to a press release, the suspect was charged with breaching a prohibition order and could also face charges of possessing explosive substances, firearms and controlled substances.

[ Related: RCMP searching for two men gone from jail ]

"[W]hile it is unknown what the motive is, investigators are exploring the extent of his connections to gang activity. It is currently unknown if any devices made by this man have been used in criminal acts," the organization announced.

CFSEU-BC went out of its way to state that there was "no indication or information" to suggest the incident was linked to terrorism.

The situation works to remind us that one can be accused of making explosive devices without being tied to some larger terrorist plot.

Earlier this summer, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were arrested and charged with building bombs to be used in a Canada Day terror attack on the provincial legislature in Victoria, B.C.

Officials said at the time that they suspected the couple had been inspired by al-Qaeda, but were acting independently.

[ More Brew: Was surveillance of Vancouver anti-Olympic activist justified? ]

Perhaps more threatening than the occasional extremist plot is the ongoing gangland battle playing out in British Columbia.

The purpose of the province's Combined Forces Special Investigation Unit is to "investigate, prosecute, disrupt and dismantle" organized crime groups in B.C. The team says there are currently 188 independent gangs battling for control of the province’s black market

The unit explains:

British Columbia has a unique and changing gang landscape. Gangs, based strictly on ethnicity, are no longer the norm. Even outlaw motorcycle gangs are becoming reluctant to self-identify for fear of unwanted police attention.  What we’re seeing now are new gang alliances and new power blocks forming in order to capture a monopoly on the illicit market.

The unit is responsible for a series of gun seizures and arrests last month, including one sweep that netted nearly 200 guns and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition.

In an unrelated case, three men will face trial later this month for the gang-related killing of six men in a Surrey, B.C., high-rise apartment.

While terror plots and terror arrests make the big headlines more commonly these days, there continues to be an ongoing battle against organized crime that can be just as dangerous.

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