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Trailer park gun manufacturer gets 45 months in jail

Man made firearms at home and shipped them out of Yukon, ignored safety.


June 18, 2015
by THE CANADIAN PRESS, Whitehorse Star

WHITEHORSE — A man who manufactured and trafficked firearms out of his home at a trailer park in Whitehorse has been sentenced to nearly 45 months in jail.

With credit given for time in remand, Dustin Mackie will serve two years less a day behind bars, avoiding a prison term out of the Yukon.

Mackie, 43, pleaded guilty earlier this year to trafficking firearms, unauthorized possession of firearms and possession of property obtained by crime.

He manufactured up to 100 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and shipped them out of the territory, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Court heard that someone alerted the RCMP about guns being constructed at a trailer park in 2013.

Police executed two search warrants and seized more than 90 items, including firearms, ammunition, silencers, flare suppressors and other weapon parts.

Several loaded firearms were in plain view around the home, where young children were also living, court heard.

Mackie and his roommate, Steven Rathburn, were arrested.

Rathburn pleaded guilty in 2013 to possessing property obtained by crime and unauthorized possession of firearms, and was sentenced to 16 months in jail and one year of probation.

In court June 16, territorial court Judge Michael Cozens noted Mackie had a bigger role in the operation. While Rathburn only participated in manufacturing, Mackie did both that and distributed the weapons.

He shipped four to five guns per week – between 50 and 100 in all, court heard. It’s not known where the firearms ended up.

Mackie wouldn’t tell police who bought them, saying he was worried about possible repercussions.

“These are exceptionally serious crimes,” Cozens said. “The safety of the public was put at risk by Mr. Mackie’s actions.”

Someone of Mackie’s intelligence would have to be wilfully blind not to think that the firearms would be used for criminal activity, Cozens said.

At a hearing in February, Mackie’s lawyer, Bibhas Vaze, proposed the mandatory minimum sentence of three years, while Crown lawyer Keith Parkkari sought four years.

Mackie told court he refused to acknowledge that he’d done anything wrong for some time after he was arrested. He blamed the RCMP for restricting his freedoms, the Crown for laying charges, and witnesses for reporting him.

But now he accepts responsibility for his actions, he said.

“I do sincerely feel remorse. I allowed myself to set aside the safety of those around me.”

Mackie said he’d always excelled at labour jobs, and when he had an opportunity to make some money, he took it, ignoring the criminal element.

He has also been sentenced to two years’ probation and has been banned from possessing firearms for life.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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