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This article was published 28/8/2018 (1404 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg police displayed two tables Tuesday loaded down with guns seized in separate drug busts to illustrate the violence connected to the city's methamphetamine crisis.
Officers arrested a suspect on the city’s most wanted list in one of the takedowns last Thursday and Saturday.
Although firearms go hand-in-hand with street-drug trafficking, the body armour seized at one raid is far less common, WPS organized crime Insp. Max Waddell told media.
"Our officers are facing these incidents daily and there is a direct correlation between the illicit drug trade, specifically methamphetamine, and the use of violence," Waddell said. "We’re fortunate we have a street crime unit that is proactively investigating these matters and we try to get them before significant damage and or violence occurs. We were successful in these two instances.
"Unfortunately we’re not in each case, as you see in the statistics."
Annual crime statistics released earlier this summer clearly noted a rising trend in violent crime paired with the meth trade.
An assault rifle with a 60-round magazine was among the weapons seized, along with two rifles designed for hunting large game, such as deer. Police also seized a case of 3.08 ammunition, a large-calibre bullet used to shoot moose.
"Drug dealers choose weapons not only to protect their drugs but to protect themselves from individuals who want to do a drug rip and steal their products," Waddell said. "This is yet another example of what police are facing and all of our community partners are facing with the methamphetamine that’s coming into the city."
Both raids are part of ongoing efforts to get meth off the streets and it takes a lot of manpower to do it, reporters were told.
On Thursday, general patrol and tactical support officers raided a house in the 500 block of Cathedral Avenue. Eight people were taken from the house and two, a man and a woman both in their 40s, were arrested.
The pair were charged with a long list of criminal offences, including trafficking meth and prescription drugs Percocet and Xanax. They were also charged with unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon, tampering with serial numbers on firearms and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.
Ashley Louie Richard, 43, and Geraldine Faye Richard, 44, both of Winnipeg were taken into custody. A third woman was arrested on two outstanding warrants. She also remained in custody Tuesday.
On Saturday, 15 police units descended on a home in the 100 block of Jefferson Avenue. They arrested a man outside the house who was wearing body armour; an unloaded hunting rifle and ammunition were seized.
Police say raids such as the two last week put huge demands on resources and are being conducted with increasing frequency. The operation Saturday involved more than 20 officers who spent six to nine hours executing the raid, seizing and cataloguing the weapons and interviewing the suspects before charges could be laid.
"It’s a huge drain on our resources," Const. Rob Carver said.
Part of Saturday's raid including stopping a vehicle in the 1600 block of Main Street. Two men and a woman were arrested and a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle and two air-soft pistols were seized from the vehicle, along with a quantity of meth and prescription drugs.
The Jefferson Avenue-Main Street arrests included a suspect — James Glen Houle, 29 —on the Most Wanted List that Crimestoppers compiles monthly. He was charged with 16 meth and firearm-related offences, police said.
Raechel Marie Dueck, 29, is facing 18 charges, and Tyson Paul Colford, 31, was charged with 13 offences.
Shawn Derek Blair, 31, who was arrested outside the house on Jefferson, was charged with offences related to possession of a firearm and body armour without a permit.