A young Winnipeg man attending a North Dakota college to play football has admitted to fuelling street crime in his home city by helping smuggle nearly two-dozen high-powered guns across the Canadian border in exchange for cash and drugs, according to court documents.
Thomas Scher, 20, was sentenced in an American courtroom Monday to 366 days jail, in addition to three years of supervised probation, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Scher has been living south of the border while attending Minot State University. He struck a plea bargain with federal prosecutors to quickly deal with his case in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Scher and a college buddy named Curtis Rolle, a North Dakota resident also attending Minot State were recruited by Gokhan Ozturk, 24, a Winnipeg resident.
Rolle would purchase the guns and then smuggle them across the Canadian border with Scher. This was done on at least eight separate occasions and involved at least 22 semi-automatic handguns of various makes and models. They would meet Ozturk in Winnipeg and be paid with either $1,000 cash per weapon or ecstasy tablets.
Scher and Rolle admit they sold approximately 1,800 doses of the illegal drugs to people in North Dakota and pocketed the profits.
Rolle bought the guns from three main outlets — the Scheel’s and Sportsman’s stores in Minot and a local pawnbroker. Rolle made false statements on his firearms transaction forms.At least one of the guns has been directly linked to a crime. A Jimenez Arms 9-mm semi-automatic pistol was purchased by Rolle from the Dak Pawnbroker in Minot and later smuggled into Canada.
After hearing so much about the gun flow into Mexico, it's fascinating to read that the same thing is happening on the Canadian border. Even more fascinating is that North Dakota is involved, a state which has been mentioned on this blog as exemplifying the pro-gun ideal of lots of guns and little crime.
What's your opinion about this? What percentage of Canadian crime guns comes from America? Do you think it must be something on the order of 90%?
What does "false statements on his firearms transaction forms," mean? What kind or forms are those that can be so easily fooled?
What about the price paid for the guns? I remember one commenter pointed out that gun flow like this is impossible because criminals can get guns for $50 or $100. His point was that proper guns bought from dealers started out too expensive to be of any use to the criminals. I guess that's another pro-gun excuse which this story puts to rest.
What's your opinion?