The Alberta Law Enforcement Team (ALERT) Guns and Gangs Unit said it’s busted a gun manufacturing operation west of Edmonton that may have been supplying criminal organizations with homemade machine guns.
ALERT said it searched three homes, two in Edmonton and one in Parkland County, and seized four prohibited firearms that were allegedly manufactured at a property in Parkland County.
The weapons were a Beretta handgun equipped with a supressor, a modified Suomi submachine gun with two oversized magazines and two homemade MAC-11 submachine guns outfitted with suppressors and oversized magazines.
“These prohibited firearms in the wrong hands are a significant public safety concern for us,” ALERT Guns and Gangs Unit Sgt. Pierre Blais said.
“The idea of MAC-11s like these being manufactured in our own backyard and sold without any checks or balances callously puts the public at risk.”
Blais said a MAC-11 submachine gun can fire 1,200 rounds per minute.
The MAC-11s were allegedly manufactured at a professional grade machinist shop with professional grade equipment and fabrication tools. ALERT said it was done without the knowledge of the owner.
Two people were arrested on Aug. 17, after an eight-month investigation.
Jacob Balan, 37, and Amy Brogden, 29, are facing 62 charges, including making an automatic firearm, four counts of firearms trafficking and four counts of possession of a firearm for the purpose of trafficking.
Blais said one of the accused was an employee of the machinist shop where the firearms were manufactured.
Balan and Brogden were released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 18.
“Our investigators have reason to believe six of these MAC-11 firearms were manufactured and trafficked by the suspect,” Blais said.
“ALERT guns and gangs will continue their investigation in hopes of identifying and recovering these additional firearms.”
ALERT said it seized a record 250 firearms in 2016 as part of organized crime and gang initiatives.