No charges yet in weapons case

Charges have yet to be laid against five out-of-town men found in Kamloops with all the tools for a violent home invasion.

The men were arrested Jan. 6 as they drove two vehicles through the city.

Court documents released Friday indicate one of the members of the RCMP's drug squad apparently spotted one of the vehicles turn right without signalling. A short while later, the officer watched as the second vehicle changed lanes without signalling.

He stopped both vehicles. When he approached the first vehicle, he detected an odour of marijuana, the search warrant documents reveal.

Two men inside the Lexus were arrested and the vehicle was searched. Inside, officers found a two-way radio. A similar radio tuned to the same channel was found in the other vehicle. It could be heard when investigators activated it and spoke into the microphone

Police also found two sets of body armour, two loaded handguns, 13 loose bullets, a knife, a leather-wrapped club, bear spray and weighted-knuckle gloves commonly known as SAP gloves. The officers also found three rolls of duct tape.

"The search of the Lexus yielded weapons consistent with a 'grow rip' or 'home invasion' type crime," the officers report in their information to obtain a search warrant.

Police needed the warrant to search the second vehicle. Both vehicles were towed to the Kamloops detachment.

Four of the five men did not have criminal records, according to the court documents, but one, Philip Aslin, was awaiting sentencing on other weapons offences.

Aslin was also bound by a curfew and was supposed to be inside his house. He was detained and remains in custody. The other men were released without charges, but issued promises to appear in court in April.

After the arrest, RCMP spokeswoman Const. Rose Dunsmore said the case clearly had gang "overtones," but officers had not linked the men with any specific criminal organization.

Kamloops detachment commander Supt. Yves Lacasse said he is aware of the case but quickly added he would not comment further as officers continue to investigate.

He added some kinds of cases take longer than others, saying Kamloops has always taken seriously any incident suggesting gang involvement.

The men are from Vancouver, Surrey, Canoe, and Salmon Arm.

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