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North Vancouver traffic stop leads to bust of suspected gun-making lab

Suspect had 3D printers capable of producing gun components, police say
WV Police cruiser
A North Vancouver man is facing multiple charges after a traffic stop by West Vancouver police yielded gun-making parts.

This article has been amended since first posting with a new date for the arraignment.

A North Vancouver man is facing a host of gun charges after a routine traffic stop investigation led to a cache of contraband.

On July 17, a West Vancouver police officer travelling through North Vancouver pulled over a driver on the 1700-block of Marine Drive. The driver, the officer quickly learned, was wanted on two different arrest warrants and taken into custody.

In his vehicle, officers found a loaded handgun and other weapons along with methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl, all prepacked for sale. They also found a fake police badge and gun belt. Some of the items were stashed in secret compartments, a release from West Vancouver police noted.

Equally disturbing was what they found in the suspect’s home, said Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, West Vancouver police spokesman. Officers discovered more suspected drugs and paraphernalia, fraudulent IDs, more weapons and the components and tools required to make new guns, including 3D printers capable of producing gun parts, said Goodmurphy.

“We’re confident that we were able to dismantle a gun-making lab,” he said.  “What seems to be an up-and-coming and concerning trend for us in law enforcement is the ability to obtain the schematics … online, on how to print firearm parts.”

Goodmurphy could not say whether the guns seized were ones the suspect had made himself.

Although the man doesn’t have any known gang associations, investigators did call in the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and Real Time Intelligence Centre, to assist in the investigation.

“These types of things, especially on the North Shore, are quite concerning, as they should be, to our community,” he said. “We have industry-leading intelligence at our fingertips. Our officers are exceptional. And our investigative resources run deep.” 

The Crown has since sworn seven charges against Thomas Barewski, 31, including three counts of possession of a prohibited device or ammunition knowing it is unauthorized; one count of possession of a firearm or ammunition contrary to prohibition order; unauthorized possession of a firearm; one count of possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm, and one count of possession of an identity document.

Barewski is scheduled for an arraignment in North Vancouver provincial court on Aug. 26.