Several men are facing charges after Winnipeg police spent weeks unravelling the origins of a loaded .45-calibre handgun found during a raid at a West End home.
At a press conference Tuesday, Insp. Max Waddell said the convoluted tale — which saw the guns go through several hands — shows just how easily legally-owned guns can end up on the streets.
“It is most certainly an educational moment for everyone to know and understand that … if you’re not responsible with your firearms, they end up in the hands of criminals,” he said.
“You have to take this seriously when you own a firearm.”
The investigation started after the loaded semi-automatic handgun was found during a police raid at a home on Downing Street April 21.
Police traced the gun to a registered owner, which led to a raid in the 100 block of Maple Street April 23.
But police say only four of the 17 guns the 53-year-old registered owner should have had in his possession were found, and two of those were found to be improperly stored.
Marc Charles Archambault was charged with possessing a firearm at an unauthorized place, storing a firearm or restricted weapon contrary to regulations, and not reporting a lost firearm.
Police say the accused told investigators his remaining guns — both restricted and non-restricted weapons — were being stored in a storage locker at the Inkster Industrial Park.
But when they followed that lead, police say they were told the contents of the storage locker had been sold at auction more than a year earlier.
Investigators then tracked down the man who bought the storage locker.
They say that man told officers he’d already sold the guns, which led to his arrest for firearms trafficking. Police say he’s since been released while investigators wait for an opinion from the Crown.
Police say the man who next bought the guns turned around and sold some of the weapons to another man. Investigators believe he split the money with the original purchaser of the locker.
That man was arrested at his home on Parkdale Road in St. Andrews, Man. April 28, where police say officers found six long guns and two restricted handguns originally from the storage locker.
Pedro Paulo DeSousa, 56, is charged with weapons trafficking.
But with several guns still unaccounted for, police were far from done.
Further investigation led to the arrest of the man police believe next bought the guns.
Donald Gulenchyn, 44, of St. Andrews, was charged with weapons trafficking May 6.
Then, on May 13 officers from the guns and gangs unit raided a home in the 300 of Alexander Avenue in Winnipeg in connection with the guns.
While none of the outstanding guns were found, police say officers did find illegal drugs.
Michael William Davidson, 42, of Winnipeg was charged with weapons trafficking and possession of methamphetamine and oxycodone following the Winnipeg raid.
After all of that work police say they’re still looking for eight of the original guns sold from the storage locker. The investigation continues, Waddell said Tuesday.