03/12/2013 01:11 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Police seize grenades, cannon, machine guns in Eastern Ontario home

A former RCMP officer has been charged after Ontario Provincial Police seized a massive cache of weapons — including machine guns, a cannon, grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition — at a Bancroft, Ont., home.

The arsenal was found last week in two hidden compartments built into the walls of the house, located in the heart of cottage country, police said Tuesday.

"What this investigation tells us is that copious amounts of firearms and ammunition were collected, stored, and sometimes even created well away from big-city Ontario," Det. Insp. Patti Dobbin told a news conference Tuesday morning.

OPP and Durham Regional Police Service executed a search warrant on Spooks Bay Lane in Bancroft, Ont., on the morning of March 7. There, they found assault rifles, a Taser, crossbows, a fully-automatic shotgun, silencers, an 80-centimetre-long cannon and "tens of thousands" of rounds of ammunition, as well as landmines, grenades and detonator cords, police said.

Some of the assault rifles were homemade, police said. Some pistols had no serial numbers, and some firearms had the serial numbers removed.

"The assault rifles, the ARs, they have no markings on them at all," said Durham Regional Police Det. Jamie Derusha. "And that causes us a lot of concern."

Former RCMP officer arrested

David Alan Kift, 55, of Bancroft, has been charged with multiple counts of weapons-related offences, including illegal possession, manufacturing prohibited and restricted firearms, and illegal possession of ammunition and explosives, and breach of parole conditions. He has been remanded into custody.

Kift is a former RCMP officer who left the force in 1996, said Insp. Mario Lessard of the Durham Regional Police.

Kift was out on parole with a lifetime ban on possessing firearms when officers raided his secluded home, police say.

Marion Kift, a 53-year-old woman, also of Bancroft, has been charged with multiple counts of similar offences, police said. She appeared in court on Monday, and has been released with conditions after a bail hearing.

Both are facing hundreds of charges, police say.

"The allegation is the manufacturing, the alteration of these firearms," he said. "There is no possible reason why anybody would have such an arsenal of weapons."

Police received tip months ago

Typically, illegal weapons and ammunition are sourced elsewhere, such as the United States in trade for drugs in cash in connection with other criminal activities, said Dobbin. But in this case, these illegal activities were taking place "right in our own backyard."

"We take our families to these places with shared expectations of these remote cottage country surroundings, that are even more secure from major amounts of firearms, and even devices designed for use in times of war," she said.

The seizure comes months after police received information about a possible cache of weapons, said Lessard.

Police also received information that there was some trafficking of firearms, he added.

"This is a significant discovery and we are pleased that these weapons are now secure," said Lessard.

"As police officers, we never want to see this kind of firepower in one place. It tends to attract attention and could be the target of criminals who want these weapons for their illegal activities."