TORONTO – Toronto police have uncovered a cache of weapons worthy of a spy novel.
Officers demonstrated how to set off stun guns disguised as cellphones at a news conference Wednesday, though they stopped short of showing the weapons’ effect.
Dozens of the devices — which look like thick cellphones with tiny prongs at one end — were seized by police in a raid last week, along with boxes of fake lipsticks and lighters that spray tear gas.
The weapons stash also included a TEC-9 submachine gun, a Cobra 9mm handgun, several butterfly knives and brass knuckles.
Jerry Jesso, the head of intelligence operations for the Canada Border Services Agency, says his agents first spotted cellphone stun guns about five years ago.
But Toronto police Det. Const. Dave Forbes says he had never come across this particular kind of hidden weapon until last week’s raid.
“Several of the items here are quite innocuous-looking” but pack a serious punch, he says.
“I have seen that some (of the stun guns) are up to 4.5 million volts, which is considerably higher than a police-issued conducted energy weapon, which is in the neighbourhood of 50,000 volts.”
It’s unclear what the stun guns’ amperage is and that could affect how hard they zap, he adds.
They’re also dangerously easy to set off by accident. Once turned on, the slightest pressure — the kind that would normally cause a pocket dial — can trigger a jolt.
Neither the stun guns nor the lipsticks have been tested yet, Forbes says, but police are sending the weapons to a lab to determine how dangerous they are.
A mailed package containing part of the cache caught the eyes of border officers in Vancouver, who then alerted Toronto police.
Officers delivered the package to a home in the Dawes Road and Danforth Avenue area.
Muna El Badri, 23, of Toronto, faces 185 weapons-related charges, including importing or exporting a prohibited weapon knowing it is unauthorized and possessing a prohibited weapon for the purpose of trafficking.
Police say Keri McKnight, 30, of Toronto, is wanted for 275 charges. He is considered armed and dangerous.