Warrant alleges N.S. mass shooter was seasoned smuggler of narcotics, U.S. guns

Warrant alleges N.S. mass shooter was seasoned smuggler of narcotics, U.S. guns

HALIFAX — Newly released court documents say witnesses told the RCMP that the gunman who carried out the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia smuggled drugs and guns from Maine for years and had secret compartments inside several of his properties.

The gunman took 22 lives during his April 18-19 shooting and burning rampage before police killed him at a service station in Enfield, N.S.

The documents that a media consortium, including The Canadian Press, went before a provincial court judge to obtain reveal a stark picture of the killer’s alleged criminal activities prior to the shootings.

Previously blacked-out details from police applications for search warrants, unsealed Monday by Judge Laurel Halfpenny MacQuarrie, quote a witness telling investigators that Gabriel Wortman had smuggled guns and drugs from Maine for years and ”had a bag of 10,000 OxyContin and 15,000 Dilaudid from a reservation in New Brunswick.”

Another witness told police that neighbours spoke of concealed spaces on Wortman’s properties in Portapique, N.S., and in Dartmouth, N.S.

That included a “secret room” in his Dartmouth denturist clinic, a false wall at his property on Portland Street in Dartmouth and “secret hiding spots” at his warehouse property in Portapique.

Prior releases from a witness who’d known Wortman since 2011 had stated the witness believed the killer had a stockpile of guns and a safe in his garage and “was controlling and paranoid.”

The newly revealed portion further describes Wortman as a man who “builds fires and burns bodies, is a sexual predator and supplies drugs in Portapique and Economy, Nova Scotia.”

The same witness told police, “Gabriel Wortman would tell … different ways to get rid of a body and had lime and muriatic acid on the property. The barrels for these would be underneath the deck.”

The warrants say police were looking for firearms, ammunition, explosives, chemicals, surveillance systems, computers, electronic devices, police-related clothing, human remains and “documents related to planning mass murder events” and the acquisition of weapons.

Investigators obtained warrants to search properties owned by the killer — three of them in the northern Nova Scotia village of Portapique, where the 51-year-old started his murderous rampage.

The warrants provide information on other areas, such as how police finally killed Wortman at a service station.

In previously released documents, a paragraph describing how the gunman was shot dead on April 19 was blacked out.

A newly released section suggests a chance encounter led to his death.

Information provided by an RCMP investigator says that when Wortman pulled up to the Irving Big Stop in Enfield, “a peace officer and member of the RCMP was also at the gas pump and recognized Gabriel Wortman … Gabriel Wortman … died.”

One witness told Halifax police that Wortman has an uncle who was in the RCMP and the witness believed Wortman had one of the uncle’s uniforms, “but it didn’t fit.” The gunman began his rampage wearing an authentic RCMP shirt and pants, police have said.

Another person told Halifax police officers they had seen a compartment in Wortman’s garage where he kept a high-powered rifle.

“The compartment was hidden underneath the workbench,” the documents say.

In addition, a previously blacked-out portion of a text exchange between Wortman and another individual on April 14 and 15 ”with respect to some potential business” has been released.

It says, “I am currently residing at my cottage in Portapique. I am enjoying this prelude to retirement, unfortunately not able to get to Maine.”

Previously released documents have detailed warning signals of paranoid behaviour and unusual purchases of gasoline by the gunman before his killings.

Large portions of the documents remain blacked-out, and the judge wrote Monday that those redactions are necessary “because of the significant ongoing investigation.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2020.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Mass shootings

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP investigate possible drowning at Pigeon Lake: Man and woman found dead on shore

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

Lacombe resident creates labyrinth near Breton

Marsha Duggan encourages others to use their imagination

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

#EndBikeTheft campaign comes to Lacombe

CACPC and 529 Garage partner to register bikes in central Alberta

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read