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

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

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read