The commander of 8 Wing and Canadian Forces Base Trenton has been temporarily removed from his role after additional firearm charges were laid in connection to an incident on the Murray Canal in Trenton, Ont. earlier this month.
Col. Leif Dahl was initially charged with five offences following an incident on Aug. 25 in which Quinte West OPP responded to reports of a gun being fired from a boat in the Murray Canal.
Police were informed that protected wildlife was being targeted but did not state what kind of wildlife was involved.
The investigation led to the recovery of a firearm in the canal by the OPP’s underwater search and recovery unit (dive team).
On Thursday morning, OPP announced further charges were laid against Dahl on Wednesday after investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in Belleville on Aug. 28. That same day, OPP divers recovered a second firearm from the canal.
Dahl, 45, was charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, careless storage of a firearm and breach of firearms regulation — transporting a firearm or restricted weapon.
The Belleville resident was initially charged with obstructing a peace officer and careless use of a firearm, along with three charges under Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act: using a firearm carelessly to hunt, hunting a bird without a licence and unlawfully having a loaded firearm in conveyance.
He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Belleville on Sept. 28.
Dahl’s military career spans more than 25 years. He has been commander of 8 Wing Trenton since July 29, 2022.
In a release, Major-Gen. Iain Huddleston, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, said the Aug. 25 incident occurred while Dahl was on leave.
However, Huddleston says he has decided to “temporarily remove” Dahl from command, pending the outcome of the investigation and court proceedings.
Huddleston has appointed Lt.-Col. Matt Lederle as acting wing commander of 8 Wing and CFB Trenton.
“It is my responsibility to ensure members of 8 Wing have full confidence in their leadership and chain-of-command,” stated Huddleston. “Lt.-Col. Lederle has prove himself as the current commanding officer of 429 Squadron and is the right officer to provide continuity, stability and thoughtful leadership to the Royal Canadian Air Fore’s busiest Wing at this difficult time.”
— more to come