A fisherman in Richmond, B.C., recently reeled in a most unusual -- and troubling -- catch.

Bobbing down the Fraser River, encased in a black waterproof bag, was a rare MAC-11 machine gun equipped with a silencer.

Forensic tests have linked the illegal gun to a number of gang-related shootings in the Vancouver area, Vancouver police Insp. Brad Desmarais told reporters on Thursday.

"This is a very deadly weapon," he said.

Investigators believe the case and the weapon had been in the river for less than 12 hours.

Desmarais said police occasionally recover MAC-10s but the MAC-11, which is more compact and has a higher rate of fire, is rare.

It is capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute, police said.

"With the briefest touch of the trigger, you can virtually empty the magazine," which carries about 30 rounds, Desmarais said.

The high rate of fire makes it very difficult to control.

"It essentially sprays like a garden hose," he said.

There are dozens of YouTube videos featuring the MAC-11 and its rapid-fire capabilities.

The recovered weapon has a serial number on it, and investigators are trying to determine its history and how it got into Canada.

Anyone with information is asked to call 604-717-2977 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.