Kamloops police say they seized two firearms and around half a kilo of illegal drugs during a "high-risk" traffic stop Sunday in Valleyview.
In a news release, Kamloops Mounties said an officer was patrolling the 1700-block of the East Trans Canada Highway on Sunday afternoon when she observed a vehicle with a partially obstructed license plate.
The constable conducted a traffic stop and quickly recognized the driver as a man known to police who had a history of firearms offences.
“Recognizing the risks associated to dealing with an offender known to have a violent history, the officer requested backup, then continued with the motor vehicle investigation,” said Kamloops RCMP Supt. Jeff Pelley.
“The driver quickly became uncooperative, refused to exit the vehicle, and made multiple attempts to access his handbag – where a loaded firearm was later discovered.”
Police said multiple backup units arrived and the driver was arrested following a struggle that continued outside the vehicle.
Two passengers were arrested and a second loaded handgun was located in the backseat — next to where a passenger was sitting, police said.
“This was a very high-risk situation that clearly illustrates the dangers our officers can be presented with every time they conduct a traffic stop, attend a request to check someone’s wellbeing, or respond to a suspicious circumstances report,” said Pelley.
“Thanks to the investigator’s quick risk assessment and the fast response of backup officers, this situation ended with the arrest of three people, the seizure of two firearms, the removal of approximately half a kilo of suspected fentanyl; and the safe return of the attending officers to their families.”
Zachary George William Engelland, 26, was arrested at the scene and later released. A warrant has since been issued for his arrest.
“A warrant has been issued as he was released before charges were approved,” BC Prosecution Service spokesman Dan McLaughlin told Castanet Kamloops.
“The BCPS was not involved in the decision to release the accused in this case.”
Engelland is facing five charges — one count of restricting or obstructing a peace officer and four firearms-related allegations.
A male and female passenger were also arrested at the scene were later released without process, pending the ongoing investigation.
Police are asking anyone with information related to the occurrence to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.