On Friday morning, Lambton OPP, with the help of the St. Clair Township Fire Department, used a bucket truck to retrieve a large drone from a tree located on the bank of the St. Clair River — attached was a bag containing 11 handguns.
The tree was on a property belonging to Christine and Jeremy Ackwood.
“Our neighbour had spotted someone in our yard in the middle of the night and he had a remote control,” Christine explained. “He wasn’t sure what was going on.”
That’s when things got very interesting. The stranger in the yard was spooked by Ackwood’s neighbour, and that’s when the stranger lost control of the drone and it crashed into the large trees in the Ackwood’s backyard.
The drone pilot then bolted, jumping into a waiting vehicle and taking off.
At the time, the Ackwood’s were actually away on a trip to Las Vegas. Jeremy Ackwood says they only found out after being contacted by police.
“We weren’t sure if they’d done it before. The police never did say that to us but we were kind of curious if they knew — if they spotted out that we were away,” he says.
Lambton OPP believe the drone and guns travelled across the St. Clair River from the United States, ending up on the Ackwood’s property near Port Lambton, Ont.
“You know between Canada and the U.S., and the various law enforcement authorities, they’re going to have to get their head around this,” says Chris Lewis, CTVs public safety analyst and a former OPP commissioner. “Because, let’s face it, there could be much more dangerous things than guns going back and forth, if they wanted to.”
Drones have been used for other illegal activity. In December 2020 the Middlesex OPP and London police thwarted an effort to smuggle drugs into the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.
Lewis points out other similar examples, saying, “Even the Kingston-area pens [penitentiary] had some attempts at this and so, you know, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
Lambton OPP say the investigation is ongoing.