A 33-year-old Aldergrove man has been charged after allegedly manufacturing gun components with a 3D printer.
Police raided four homes, two in Abbotsford, two in Aldergrove, and seized drugs, 3D printers, printed pistol frames, and other gun components.
An investigation going back to 2020 led to the raids on May 28, 2021 by the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), an anti-gang squad including police from multiple detachments and jurisdictions in B.C. The unit’s Illegal Firearm Enforcement Team led the investigation, said Sgt. Brenda Winpenny, CFSEU spokesperson.
Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested as the police searched homes in the 5100 block of 248th Street and the 26500 block of 32A Avenue in Aldergrove, and in the 30900 block of Westridge Place and the 32400 block of Simon Avenue in Abbotsford.
At the Westridge Place residence, police found products and items related to manufacturing drugs, as well as “a firearm manufacturing lab using 3D printer technology,” said Winpenny.
3D printers can make a wide variety of items, usually out of plastic. Although they cannot usually make an entire gun, they have been used to make some of the components of a gun. Police also found Glock handgun components.
In addition to the 3D printed items, police seized 1.7 kg of methamphetamine and 300 grams of fentanyl.
On May 23, 2023, Tyson Saverio Santolla was charged with one count of firearms manufacturing, five counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, and one count of possession of a restricted firearm without a license.
People facing criminal charges are innocent until proven guilty.
Santolla has now been released on court-ordered conditions until his next court appearance.
“The collaborative work by CFSEU-BC and partner agencies is key when developing strategies to remove illegal firearms, such as privately manufactured firearms, off the streets and out of the hands of those who would use them in acts of gun violence,” said Inspector Joel Hussey, Operations Officer for CFSEU- BC. “Illegal firearms, regardless of whether they are mass manufactured or made in someone’s home, are a major focus for police across Canada. CFSEU-BC is working closely with its partners across the province to investigate and disrupt the people and groups who may seek to illegally make and sell firearms.”
In 2013, Santolla pleaded guilty to using a false document to enter or remain in Canada, in Richmond Provincial Court.
That charge was linked to a drug arrest in Australia. Santolla and two other men were arrested in the Australian town of Surfers Paradise, and charged for allegedly smuggling 3,400 tables of ecstasy inside a Sony PlayStation.
Customs officers in Sydney had detected the tablets, inserted a listening device in the old video game console, and tracked the package.
Santolla failed to turn up for sentencing and an Australian court issued a warrant for his arrest.
He had flown to Canada, where he was arrested at Vancouver International Airport and accused of travelling on a passport that didn’t have his proper name, and of lying to immigration authorities. According to Australian media reports, the passport belonged to his twin brother.
Santolla consented to extradition back to Australia on the drug charges.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org