Key player in Cornwall handgun shipment pleads guilty

In this June 2018, file photo, Toronto Police Service Acting Inspector Don Belanger speaks during a news conference in Toronto. In front of the podium are the 60 handguns seized in Cornwall, Ont. as part of the joint investigation. A Scarborough man described as a key player in the smuggling operation has pleaded guilty to six charges. (Toronto Police Service/YouTube via Newswatch Group, File)

TORONTO – A key player in a shipment of semi-automatic handguns through Cornwall, destined for Toronto, has pleaded guilty to a half dozen charges.

Harris Poyser, 59, of Scarborough pled last week to six charges, including instructing the commission of an offence for the benefit of a criminal organization, importing firearms and possession of firearms for the purpose of trafficking, according to the Toronto Star.

Police seized 60 handguns from the trunk of a car during a traffic stop on McConnell Avenue on May 23, 2018. Fifty-nine of the guns were 9 mm semi-automatics and the other one was a .40-caliber semi-automatic.

A Toronto court heard last week the shipment of guns was part of a cross-border smuggling operation that sent guns north from Florida and unspecified contraband south. The guns were delivered to a home at 515 Oliver Lane in Cornwall, the Toronto Star reported.

The guns were picked up from Oliver Lane and were in the process of being shipped back to the GTA when the arrests were made as part of a joint operation between the Cornwall Police Service and the Toronto Police Service’s guns and gangs unit. The entire exchange of the guns in Cornwall was captured by a police surveillance plane.

When he is sentenced in early May, Poyser could face 10 to 15 years in prison, the paper reported.

A co-accused in the case has died since the charges were laid in June 2018. The smuggling connection in Florida is also dead.

The guns would fetch anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 each on the streets of Toronto.