The Coalition for Gun Control/Pour le Controle des Armes

Guns in the News: Thursday Roundup

Posted by cgccanada on July 24, 2009

1. The Telegraph-Journal, July 23, 2009, Ohio man piles up $2,500 in fines stemming from gun violation

ST. STEPHEN – An Ohio couple headed for home Tuesday after an expensive Canadian vacation. William Michael Rudlasky, 56, of Kent, Ohio, pleaded guilty in St. Stephen provincial court to failing to declare a prohibited 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun at the St. Stephen border crossing into Canada on July 17. He also pleaded guilty to a related charge of making a false statement to a Canada Border Services Agency officer. Judge David Walker fined Rudlasky $1,000 for failing to declare the gun, plus $500 for making the false statement. On top of this, the Ohio man had to pay a civil penalty of $1,000 to get his pickup truck and camper trailer back, and he forfeited the gun to the Crown for destruction. The Rudlaskys pulled up to the St. Stephen border crossing at about 8 p.m., intending to tour eastern Canada for a week and a half, federal Crown prosecutor Peter Thorn said. Rudlasky answered “no” when the border officer asked if he had firearms. The officer entered the licence plate into the computer, and got a reply back to do a “random referral search.” The officers doing the secondary search found the unloaded gun, along with bullets and two magazines, under the bed. Rudlasky admitted to making a mistake by not declaring the gun. “A different culture” in Canada compared to the United States respecting guns accounted for this lapse, duty counsel Glen Larsen said. “It’s a mistake about what is standard practice between these two different countries.” The short barrel made the Smith & Wesson a prohibited weapon, but the Crown did not charge Rudlasky with possessing a prohibited weapon, Larsen said. “I’d like to apologize for my error in judgment,” Rudlasky told the court. A Canadian citizen would go to jail for driving through St. Stephen with a weapon such as the border agency found in the Rudlaskys’ camper, the judge said. He credited Rudlasky for returning to court and pleading guilty at the first chance, but said the court must deter others. The judge ordered Rudlasky to serve 15 days in jail if he did not pay the $1,000 fine, and another seven days consecutive if he did not pay the $500 fine. He would pay via credit card before leaving the courthouse, Rudlasky said. The border services agency escorted him to the nearest crossing into the United States immediately afterwards.

2. National Post, July 22, 2009, Gunrunner Faces 10 Years for Toronto ‘Havoc’

U. S. prosecutors are seeking a 10-year prison sentence for a Chicago gunrunner who smuggled more than 200 firearms into Canada and sold them to a Toronto organized crime ring. Ugur Yildiz sold the handguns to a Toronto man known as Mikey at a meeting at a Canadian strip club in 2006, the prosecutors allege in a sentencing memorandum filed in U. S. District Court. The guns then made their way into the hands of gang members and drug dealers around Toronto, and several were used in shootings, most recently a Dec. 17 murder. Canadian police have so far recovered only 34 of the guns. “The havoc wreaked in the Toronto area by Yildiz’s firearms deal is not even close to being over — approximately 200 firearms are still unaccounted for, last known to be in Canada,” U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wrote in the sentencing memorandum. Yildiz is to appear in a Chicago courtroom next Friday for sentencing. He has pleaded guilty to illegally exporting firearms to Canada and faces a maximum sentence of less than five years. Prosecutors, however, are seeking to convince the judge to double that. “An appropriate sentence is a message to our Canadian neighbours that we take their safety very seriously, and that we will punish conduct which jeopardizes their safety accordingly,” the memorandum reads. The prosecutors’ memorandum identifies “Mikey” as Huy Ta, a target of a “Canadian investigation of an Asian organized crime ring.” It alleges Yildiz sold the guns to Ta knowing they would be used for criminal activity. More than two-thirds of the crime guns seized by Toronto police originate in the United States but few smugglers are as brazen as Yildiz, who owned an Illinois gun shop until federal authorities revoked his licence in 2005. In April 2006, Yildiz loaded more than 200 guns into his green Chrysler Caravan and drove to Windsor. He told the border officer he was coming to Canada for a “visit.” He made three trips to Canada altogether. In Windsor, he met Daniel Wasiluk, who allegedly locked the guns in a local storage facility. Canadian police later arrested Wasiluk, who told them he had introduced Yildiz to “Mikey” at a strip club. “Wasiluk stated that he heard defendant [Yildiz] and Mikey discussing a gun deal,” says the sentencing memorandum. “Wasiluk heard Yildiz state that he had volume and could not do anything small, and heard Mikey state that he was interested in buying all the guns.” Around that same time, “multiple confidential sources” told Canadian police an Asian drug and gun trafficking organization had obtained a large cache of firearms from Yildiz, the memorandum says. Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation called Project Blackhawk that, two years later, resulted in the arrests of 36 people on more than 400 charges. Police also seized cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy pills and firearms, and uncovered what they called the largest ecstasy and methamphetamine lab ever detected in Ontario, and possibly Canada. Ta was arrested in January, 2008, after police responded to a call that he had fired gunshots out his window and shot up his neighbours’ vehicles, the sentencing memorandum says. He pleaded guilty to illegal possession of firearms. Yildiz is a Turkish-born American, but the prosecutors say he obtained his U. S. citizenship under “suspicious circumstances.” Ontario Provincial Court issued a warrant for his arrest last July 2. The Ontario government has told U. S. authorities it wants to extradite Yildiz to Toronto to stand trial but it is unclear whether that will still happen following his conviction in Chicago.

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