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Two central Alberta men facing charges after anti-weapons trafficking bust

Three men from Eckville, Rocky Mountain House and Calgary facing numerous weapons charges

A pair of Central Albertans and a Calgarian are facing numerous weapons charges after being busted in an anti-weapon trafficking operation.

In September 2022, the team was tipped off by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that a suspicious package addressed to an Eckville address had been intercepted. One package contained 10 Polymer80 lower parts Glock handgun kits.

Two other packages contained nine polymer lower parts for AR-15 rifles and one upper receiver with a barrel were intercepted in April 2023.

The Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) enforcement team, which is a joint force that includes CBSA, Calgary Police Service and RCMP officers, conducted an eight-month operation that led to May 3 searches in Eckville, Rocky Mountain House and Calgary. The searches turned up numerous prohibited handguns, long-barrel guns and evidence of firearms manufacturing.

Three men from Eckville, Rocky Mountain House and Calgary were arrested and are facing numerous weapons-related charges.

“Firearm violence has impacted several communities across the nation and the policing community as a whole,” said Supt. Sean Boser, office in charge of federal policing. “This investigation serves as an important reminder that the fight to prevent illegal firearms from entering Canada is always ongoing.

“This is yet another demonstration on the importance of collaboration. With the support of CBSA, CPS and the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team, the RCMP has prevented three suspects from distributing these dangerous and illegal firearms to Alberta communities.”

Canada Border Service Agency’s Lisa Laurencelle-Peace said “we’re taking action to keep Canadians safe from gun violence.

Our work begins at the border, stopping illegal firearms from coming into Canada and disrupting criminal activity,” said Laurencelle-Peace, regional director general for CBSA’s Prairie Region.

Jason Bobrowich, acting superintendent for the Calgary Police Service criminal operations and intelligence division, says the co-operation and co-ordination of IBET officers continues to provide success.

“Gun crime is being addressed by multiple areas of the Calgary Police Service through investigation, enforcement and prevention. In this instance we were able to work with our partners to maintain public safety and ensure illegally imported and manufactured firearms are kept out of our city, communities across Alberta and out of the hands of criminals.”

IBET’s mandate is to enhance border integrity and security along the shared border, between designated ports of entry, by identifying, investigating and interdicting persons, organizations and goods that are involved in criminal activities.

Aaron Mckervey, 30, of Eckville, was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of an unauthorized firearm, and single counts of importing or exporting an item knowing it’s unauthorized, weapons trafficking, making an automatic firearm, contravening storage regulations and smuggling.

Alpat Sonnenberg, 63, of Rocky Mountain House, is charged with weapons trafficking, possession of a weapon obtained by commission of an offence, contravention of storage regulations, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and possession of an unauthorized firearm.

Koty Herndon, 38, of Calgary, was arrested and charged with unauthorized possession of a motor vehicle, weapons trafficking, possess of weapons for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a weapon obtained by the commission of an offence, contravention of weapon storage regulations, possession of an unauthorized firearm, possession of an unauthorized prohibited weapon, device and ammunition and possession of a prhobited or restricted firearm and ammunition.

Mckervey is scheduled to appear in Red Deer Court of Justice on May 23, while Sonnenberg is scheduled to appear on May 24 and Herndon on June 9.

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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