Cleaning staff at a Toronto hotel called police after finding three guns in a room last week, leading to officers finding more than two dozen additional firearms in the same room, officials say.
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Toronto police said officers were called at around 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 about a number of guns that were found in a hotel room in the Don Mills and York Mills roads area.
Police said staff called after three guns were found while a room was being cleaned.
Officers went to the hotel, located the guns and sealed the room before obtaining and later executing a search warrant the same day for the room, finding an additional 25 guns, police said.
In a press conference Monday morning about the seizure, Toronto police Supt. Steve Watts said the firearms were a combination of prohibited and restricted handguns, predominately Glocks.
“Gun violence continues to be one of the most significant public safety concerns in our city,” Watts said, with the seizure on display in front of him.
“The vast majority of gun violence is perpetrated by people who are unlawfully in possession of illegal crime guns that you see before you. These guns were 100 per cent destined for our streets in Toronto. And as a result of this seizure, they cannot be used to take someone else’s life and severely injured and maim people.”
Watts called the seizure “significant” and noted that so far in 2023, Toronto police have seized 382 “crime guns.” In Ontario as a whole, 1,301 have been seized, he said.
Watts said the investigation is ongoing but so far, a portion of the guns have been traced to the southern United States.
Watts was asked about guns coming across the border from the United States, and he noted that Canada and the U.S. share the largest undefended border in the world.
“There is a lot of border crossings. There is a lot of opportunity,” he said.
“I can tell you that our federal partners and provincial partners are working very diligently with cross-border enforcement… We have units within the Toronto Police Service that are working to that, too, in collaboration and in close hand with our American partners.”
Watts thanked the hotel employees who called police about the guns, adding that officers cannot do their job without public assistance.
A 30-year-old Ottawa man was arrested in connection with the incident.
He was charged with 28 counts of possessing a restricted or prohibited firearm without holding a licence, 28 counts of possessing a restricted or prohibited firearm while knowingly not holding a licence, 28 counts of storing a firearm carelessly, 22 counts of possessing a prohibited device, 28 counts of knowingly possessing a firearm for transfer, possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, and failing to comply with a release order.
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