A MAC-11 subcompact machine gun was one of seven firearms seized by ALERT in a series of drug raids in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake. Six people were arrested in a three-month investigation.
ALERT’s Red Deer organized crime and gang team concluded the investigation on Oct. 12th with the search of three residences in Sylvan Lake and one home in Red Deer. The search warrants came as part of a drug trafficking investigation with assistance from RCMP Sylvan Lake and RCMP Red Deer detachments.
The MAC-11 was equipped with a silencer and found with two extended clip magazines. The firearm, which was loaded at the time it was found by police, was seized from the home of Justin Sandquist, 26, in the Vanier Woods neighbourhood in Red Deer. At the time of his arrest, Sandquist was on bail for an Edmonton homicide investigation.
Investigators allege that Sandquist and five other people arrested were involved in drug trafficking in the Sylvan Lake and Red Deer areas. During the investigation 68 grams of cocaine was seized, along with various pills, buffing agents, and other drug trafficking paraphernalia.
Six people were charged in the investigation, including Robyn Lehner, 32, Darcey Perry, 24, Kyle Schellenberger, 27, Kayla Simms, 20, Walter Cameron, 45, and Sandquist. They are facing a total of 38 charges related to drugs and firearms offences.
The seven firearms that were seized, included a MAC-11 submachine gun, two SKS rifles, two shotguns, a stolen sawed-off rifle, a loaded handgun, body armour and various rounds of ammunition.
ALERT began investigating the group’s suspected drug activities in June 2016.
Insp. Chad Coles with ALERT said the MAC-11 machine gun seized can fire 32 bullets in less than two seconds.
“The MAC-11 was equipped with a silencer and found with two extended clip magazines. This is a prohibited firearm in Canada and in the wrong hands it presents a major public safety concern,” he said, adding the increase in drug trafficking is an alarming trend across the province. “The firearm is fully automatic, meaning that with one pull of the trigger it is continuous fire. The person pulling the trigger would have little to no control of where those bullets are flying.
“I could only speculate how this could have or would have been used. Guns are used in the drug trade to enforce debts, settle disputes over territories, intimidate rivals and to kill.”
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.