Gunmaker gets two more years in jail

A man who admitted to building weapons in the shed behind his Whitehorse home has been sentenced to spend the next two years at Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

A man who admitted to building weapons in the shed behind his Whitehorse home has been sentenced to spend the next two years at Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

Dustin Mackie, 43, was sentenced Tuesday in Yukon territorial court for possession of illegal weapons, illegally manufacturing weapons and possession of stolen property.

Mackie was one of two men arrested while living at the Northland Trailer Park in 2013. His co-accused, Steven Rathburn, who was considered a smaller player in the operation, was sentenced for 16 months that year for his role in the crimes.

As the Crown tells it, Mackie was working as a blacksmith of sorts, making, designing and selling guns. Rathburn assisted him with things like painting and sandblasting.

The pair made 50-100 AR semi-automatic rifles, shipping out four to five a week, the court heard.

It’s not clear where all the weapons went. Rathburn wouldn’t tell police where the weapons were sold out of fear of repercussions from the buyers, according to an agreed statement of facts.

All too often these type of firearms lead to tragic consequences, Judge Michael Cozens said while giving his ruling.

He said Mackie would have to be willfully blind not to know where his weapons were going to end up, likely in criminal activities.

Cozens called the weapons operation a “significant” one that involved premeditation, even though the two men insist they were only making enough money to pay the bills.

The judge described Mackie as someone who struggles with authority and has little trust in the justice system.

He had difficulty at home and lived on the streets of Edmonton from when he was 17 until he was 21.

He owes $40,000-$50,000 to family and friends – money borrowed to buy the gun manufacturing equipment. Cozens said Mackie originally planned on building weapons legally.

The judge sentenced Mackie to two years less a day on top of the time he has already served in custody.

In total that’s 44.5 months in custody.

It’s close to the four years the Crown had been seeking, but keeps Mackie in territorial jail as opposed to a federal prison.

In Canada, sentences that are less than two years are served in local jails like the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. Anything higher would have meant federal prison time.

The sentence also let the judge add a probation order after Mackie gets out of jail, something that in most cases doesn’t come with a prison sentence.

Mackie will be on probation for two years once he is released. He is banned from having any weapons or anything that could be reasonably used to manufacture weapons.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

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