TORONTO - Homemade assault rifles, landmines, crossbows and a small cannon were among a huge stockpile of weapons found hidden in the walls and garage of one home in eastern Ontario, police said Tuesday.
Two people, including a former RCMP officer who has been under a weapons ban since 2008, were arrested and charged after police searched the house in Bancroft, Ont., on March 7. They are each facing hundreds of charges.
In all, 67 weapons were seized, several of them illegally converted or altered, along with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, police said.
The Department of National Defence had to be called in to help remove anti-personnel landmines, grenades, detonator cords and blasting caps.
"There's no possible reason why anybody would have such an arsenal of weapons," said Insp. Mario Lessard, of the Durham Regional Police.
Police are still working to figure out why someone would amass such a cache of firearms and other weapons, Lessard said. The seizure is among the largest police in the region have seen allegedly from one person, he said.
"We are pleased that these weapons are now secure," Lessard said. "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."
When officers searched the home on Spooks Bay Lane they found two hidden compartments built into the walls of the house that were being used to store illegal weapons and ammunition, police said.
In the garage they found machining equipment along with illegal, converted and altered weapons, silencers, prohibited magazines, homemade manufactured assault rifles, pistols with no serial numbers and firearms with the serial numbers removed, police said.
The cache included machine-guns, assault rifles, smoke grenades, a fully automatic shotgun, prohibited crossbows, a Taser, and a 32-inch cannon.
David Kift, 55, is facing hundreds of weapons offences including illegal possession, alteration and manufacturing of prohibited and restricted firearms and has been remanded into custody. Kift was a member of the RCMP and retired in 1996, police said.
Court documents show that he tried to sue the federal government for $1 million in a claim that was eventually dismissed.
In a self-published book titled "The Naked Mountie," Kift writes that he sued for negligence and wrongdoing. He wrote that he was honourably discharged from the force after a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The RCMP was not able to confirm the circumstances under which Kift left the police service.
In January 2008, Kift was sentenced to five years — and a 10-year weapons prohibition order — on a total of nine firearms-related offences.
Marion Kift, 53, is facing similar charges and has been released on bail.