2019-06-05

Alleged weapons smuggling probe with ties to Lower Rose Bay leads to gun charges

by Keith Corcoran

An October arraignment date in Bridgewater awaits a Quebec man who faces gun charges in connection with an alleged prohibited weapons smuggling probe that led RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to Lunenburg County in January.

In April, Lunenburg district RCMP filed charges against Bharath Rajakumar, 46, of Montreal, months after authorities searched his 2016 Jeep Compass and his mother's Lower Rose Bay home.

Rajakumar is charged with seven weapons offences, including unauthorized possession of a rifle and revolver, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition and two counts of careless storage of a revolver. The offences are alleged to have happened in Rose Bay on January 16, the same day law enforcement executed the two search warrants.

As of late May, Rajakumar had not been accused of any Customs Act, importing, or smuggling-related charges.

None of the allegations currently against Rajakumar have been tested in court.

Search warrant records filed at the Bridgewater Justice Centre indicated the Kingsburg Road home where Rajakumar had been staying for a time came to the attention of law enforcement in early January after the CBSA mail centre in Mississauga, Ontario intercepted a package from Spain allegedly containing two semi-automatic handguns destined for Lower Rose Bay.

After seizing the guns, authorities did some checking and found a similar weapons seizure took place in 2017, also from a package shipped from Spain. In that case, the handguns were confiscated and documentation of the seizure was sent out to Rajakumar's Quebec address.

"These style of handguns are designed to fire blank ammunition, but .... these handguns are also known for their conversion to a fully functioning semi-auto handgun firing bullets," reads part of the Information to Obtain a Search Warrant (ITO) document authored by Blair MacDonald of the CBSA.

An ITO is filed to seek authorization to secure a search warrant. The document is filed by law enforcement to a judge and lays out what the agency believes are the grounds for them to get a warrant to look for evidence.

During the January 16 searches, officers seized a credit card statement, and a "brass cylinder for dispensing black powder" from the Jeep. They also took custody of a rifle, a revolver starter pistol with holster and case, a package of BB's and other ammunition, and a switchblade knife.

In the house, authorities confiscated a Canada Post delivery notice, another credit card statement, a USB drive, a laptop and a iPhone.

Three days before the searches, CBSA learned of another shipment - a pellet pistol - destined for Lower Rose Bay from the same exporter in Europe. Authorities said that item was considered a "controlled firearm" and not prohibited.

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