UPDATE: RCMP arrest and charge two people in relation to Canada Day terrorism plot in Victoria
Watch: RCMP announcement
Two Canadian-born citizens are in custody in connection with terrorism related activity that was planned in Victoria on Canada Day.
On July 1, the RCMP arrested and charged Amanda Marie Korody, 28, and John Stewart Nuttall, 38, on charges that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and making or having in possession an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage to property.
The two were arrested without incident in Abbotsford at 2 p.m. on Monday. Both accused live in Surrey. Nuttall has a long criminal record.
The RCMP says the duo was ‘inspired’ by Al-Qaeda ideology, but was ‘self-radicalized.’
The explosive devices involved were under RCMP control, inert and never presented a threat to public safety. They were seized on the outside property of the B.C. Legislature building in Victoria.
A photo showing the explosive devices was shown at this morning’s press conference. One of the devices appeared to be a pressure cooker-type. A similar type of explosive device was used by suspects in the Boston marathon bombings earlier this year. However, the RCMP say there is no evidence to suggest there is any connection between the two investigations.
“At all times during the investigation, our primary focus was the safety of the public,” said James Malizia with RCMP federal policing operations in Ottawa.
Malizia says the threat was domestic and had no international links.
“We detected the threat early and disrupted it.”
RCMP Assistant commissioner Wayne Rideout says the behaviour was intended to cause harm to people on a national holiday, and a criminal investigation has been launched.
“While these charges are shocking, they are still rare,” said Rideout. “Nevertheless, that does not remove the need to remain vigilant and we are out there to ensure nothing happens to Canadians.”
Rideout says RCMP was in tight control as the devices were being constructed and were confident that public risk was minimized.
The charges are the result of Project Souvenir, a National Security investigation coordinated by the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) in B.C. launched in February of this year.
The two suspects appeared in Provincial Court today and will be making their next appearance next week. Korody does not have a criminal record, while Nuttall had previous offences that date back to March of 2010 and include possessing weapon for dangerous purpose, assault and mischief.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said today she was relieved to find out there was never any risk to the public.
“Let me tell this to those who reserve to terror: You will not succeed in damaging our democratic institutions. But just as importantly, you will not succeed tearing down values that make this country strong.”