Charges have been dropped against two men arrested in connection with a cache of 27 handguns seized in Langley early this year.
The BC Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, an anti-gang policing group, had announced the charges on Oct. 4.
The men had been charged with offences such as unlawfully transporting firearms, possession of firearms at an unauthorized place, and careless use of a firearm.
However, all those charges were stayed on Oct. 8, according to Dan McLaughlin, spokesperson for the BC Prosecution Service.
“The decision to stay charges in this case was made after further information was received by the prosecutor with conduct of the file,” McLaughlin said. “After considering this information and conducting a full review of the investigative materials the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard could no longer be met.”
A stay of proceedings was entered in the case.
The charges were linked to an alleged “straw purchaser” scheme, according to earlier CFSEU announcements.
Straw purchasing is when someone with a valid firearms license buys guns to pass them along to people without licenses and permits. It is one of the most common ways guns end up in the hands of gang members and criminals.
CFSEU’s Brenda Winpenny said the guns involved were seized just after New Year’s Day in Langley, and they were bound for Sooke on Vancouver Island.
McLaughlin said there is a two-part test prosecutors use when laying charges.
First, whether there is a good chance of a conviction, and second, if there is a public interest in prosecuting the suspects.
“In this case the prosecutor concluded the test was no longer met and that a stay of proceedings was appropriate,” he said.
He declined to say which part of the test was not met in this case.
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