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Alberta man suspected of 3D-printing firearm parts

A Picture Butte man is charged with using a 3-D printer to illegally manufacture firearm parts.

A Picture Butte man faces charges following an investigation into the 3D-printing of firearm parts.

Police believe this is the first time in Alberta that charges have been laid in relation to the 3D-printing of firearms.

ALERT Lethbridge’s organized crime team and the RCMP’s National Weapons Enforcement Support Team arrested and charged a 53-year-old man Aug. 18.  

“The strength of collaboration during investigations of illegal movement and criminal use of firearms has once again resulted in a successful outcome, thanks to the efforts of ALERT and the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program” said Supt. Sue Black of RCMP Canadian firearms program.

ALERT contends the man was involved in firearm manufacturing using 3D printers.

A search of Picture Butte residence revealed multiple 3D printers, along with an assortment of manufactured firearm parts, including:

• Pistol lower frames.
• An assault rifle receiver and frame.
• A bump stock for converting a semi-automatic firearm to fully automatic.
• Silencers.

Seized items were forwarded to the RCMP Forensic Science and Identification Services lab for examination and ballistics testing.

The preliminary results confirmed the 3D-printed parts were functional.

The man is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 7 and is charged with the following offences:

• Offering to traffic firearms.
• Manufacturing a restricted firearm.
• Manufacturing a non-restricted firearm.
• Manufacturing a prohibited device.
• Possession of firearms for the purpose of trafficking.
• Possession of a prohibited device for the purpose of trafficking.
• Unauthorized possession of a non-restricted firearm.
• Unauthorized possession of a restricted firearm,

ALERT’s investigation began in April 2019 and involved Lethbridge Police Service and Picture Butte RCMP.