3 years for gun stockpile

A man who was found by Vernon RCMP officers hiding in a storage locker full of powerful guns, drugs and stolen property last April has pleaded guilty to a long list of charges.

Taras Horst Becker, 30, was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Monday after a guilty plea in B.C. provincial court. With time already served, plus six months additional jail time on another file, Becker is expected to serve 30 months in prison before he is released.

On Apr. 8, police officers arrested a Vernon man, wanted on an outstanding warrant, who was a passenger in Becker's van, Crown counsel Juan O'Quinn told the court.

During the time it took officers to put the suspect in a vehicle, Becker had disappeared.

The van was outside The Stor-It Place on 43rd Street where an employee observed Becker being locked in a storage locker by two other people.

“Police opened the unit with the assistance of the employee,” said O'Quinn. “One they got into the unit they found firearms.”

After getting a warrant to search the unit, police reported finding two sawed off shot guns, three semi-automatic assault rifles, a handgun and assorted ammunition as well as a small amount of dynamite. A loaded semi-automatic pistol was also discovered in an earlier search outside of the locker.

“Those weapons, getting into the hands of criminals, could cause great damage,” O'Quinn said.

Police also found:

  • a large quantity of heroin and other drug trafficking paraphernalia
  • numerous stolen automotive parts valued at over $11,000 stolen during commercial break and enters in Vernon earlier this year
  • camera equipment valued at over $10,000 stolen during a residential break and enter in Penticton earlier this year

Becker, from the Lower Mainland, appeared by video yesterday when he pleaded guilty to 27 of 32 counts in connection with the find, including multiple weapons and possession of stolen property charges. He also pleaded guilty to three other possession of stolen property charges in a separate file.

Before his capture, Becker had already been under a lifetime firearms ban, O'Quinn said.

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