Vegreville Man Charged with Trafficking Firearms
Edmonton Police Service
For Immediate Release: 01-Jun-2022
A 33-year-old Vegreville, AB man is facing 68 charges in connection with six-month-long firearms trafficking investigation.
In November of 2021, three illicit firearms were seized during a vehicle stop by members of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). EPS Firearms Investigation Unit (FIU) assisted with the above investigation, and subsequently entered into a firearm trafficking investigation after identifying the suspect as Michael Harker.
Investigations revealed Harker had purchased 17 fraudulent handguns from 11 sellers across Alberta over a short period of time in November 2021. It is alleged Harker trafficked several the fraudulent purchased handguns between November 2021 and January 2022.
In December 2021, Harker attempted to fraudulently purchase 25 firearms (non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited) from an Ontario auction house; however, FIU and Alberta’s Chief Firearms Office (CFO) were able to block this bulk sale.
In January 2022, Harker was the subject of a Two Hills RCMP investigation, at which time RCMP seized four of the fraudulently purchased handguns. The four handguns were seized from Harker’s residence in Vegreville, Alberta.
In January 2022, members of the EPS seized one of the fraudulently purchased handguns in an unrelated investigation in Edmonton, Alberta, and then in February 2022, Vegreville RCMP seized another one of the fraudulently purchased handguns, again in an unrelated investigation.
Between the four investigations from three agencies, nine of the fraudulently purchased handguns were seized. Eight of the 17 fraudulently purchased handguns remain outstanding in the community. FIU are continuing to investigate and are attempting to locate these handguns.
Harker managed to fraudulently purchase the 17 firearms by assuming the identity of an Edmonton man in November 2021, using the complainant’s Firearms License and identity information to complete the purchases with the sellers and the Canadian Firearms Program and CFO. The complainant reported the identity theft to the police, unfortunately, Harker had already fraudulently acquired the 17 firearms by that time.
On April 5, 2022, Michael Harker, 33, turned himself in to the EPS at the request of FIU and was subsequently arrested. Harker was charged with 68 offences including possession for the purpose of firearms trafficking, firearms trafficking, fraud, identity fraud, and possession of identity document.
EPS’ FIU would like to acknowledge the assistance and excellent investigations by Two Hills RCMP and Vegreville RCMP.