In February of 2019, Southwest Division patrol members responded to a carjacking incident where they recovered a handgun, in close proximity to the scene, that had its serial number defaced.
As the investigation progressed, members of the EPS submitted the recovered handgun to the RCMP National Forensic Laboratory Services to determine ownership. Through this process, the original serial number was restored, and Bradley Sawchuk was found to be the registered owner of the handgun.
After several months of investigation, members of FIU charged Bradley Sawchuk, 34, of Gunn Alberta, with firearm trafficking, firearms possession for the purpose of trafficking and altering, defacing or removing a serial number.
All charges are in relation to three handguns registered to Sawchuk. Members of FIU allege that Sawchuk trafficked the handguns between 2018 and 2020 and believe he "straw purchased" his handguns for the purpose of trafficking them.
"Straw purchasing of firearms occurs when an individual with a valid firearms license purchases a firearm for another individual, or individuals, who cannot lawfully purchase firearms for themselves," says Sergeant Eric Stewart with FIU. "This trend is prevalent in our investigations: individuals who want firearms for criminal purposes can obtain their firearms domestically through straw purchasers."
"We are not targeting law-abiding gun owners. Our focus is on the individuals who traffic their firearms to the criminal market. There’s definitely a strong correlation between illegal firearms and violence, which poses great risk to public safety," says Sgt. Stewart.
Police believe that Sawchuk trafficked multiple firearms and investigators are seeking information regarding the whereabouts of those firearms.
Handgun located around carjacking scene; allegedly trafficked by Sawchuk
Between January 1, 2020 and September 21, 2020, the EPS has responded to a total of 101 shootings and seized 756 firearms (not including airsoft guns).