State and federal investigators are looking into an illegal gun mill operation that was orchestrated by several current and former employees of the Selma Police Department.
“With the cooperation of Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are conducting a joint investigation of current and former employees of the Selma Police Department,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in a recent statement.
Last month, police discovered 200 firearms in a storage locker belonging to an evidence technician, identified as 34-year-old Adrianne Michelle Canterbury, and her husband, 43-year-old Richard Canterbury.
“What we found there was probably the largest stash of guns from a criminal perspective. It was a little overwhelming to see that amount,” Chief Collier told the Selma-Times Journal. “There may be others that weren’t [taken from evidence] but we’re trying to work that. The bulk were taken out of the evidence room.”
Adrianne is the suspected thief in the operation, her husband acted as a gunsmith, fixing the stolen firearms, and a third individual, 32-year-old Candice Ledbetter Byrum, listed them for sale online. All three are now facing criminal charges. Adrianne’s supervisor at the department, who has yet to be identified, was terminated. It’s not clear if that individual was involved in the operation.
“If there was ever a picture-perfect conspiracy case, this is it,” said Collier in a press conference last month.
“If [Alabama] had a racketeering statute, this would probably fit it. This is a criminal conspiracy, and more importantly, it’s a criminal organization that has carried out putting guns on the street.”
At least one of the firearms is connected to a homicide. Back in April, 19-year-old Ratravious Sanders was playing with a handgun he had obtained from Canterbury. The teen was in a car with three friends. The gun discharged and the projectile hit his friend, 19-year-old Rufus Williams, in the back killing him.
The joint investigation will involve an audit of the books, which according to Chief Collier haven’t been reviewed in 17 years.
“The joint investigation will include an audit of the police department’s evidence room in the wake of recent reports of missing items from the department’s vault,” said Marshall. I appreciate the assistance of Chief Collier who has provided complete access to the department’s records as we conduct our joint investigation into possible corruption and missing evidence.”