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4 charged with conspiracy to murder after raid on Coutts blockade

Click to play video: 'Alberta border protest blockade clears after police seize weapons' Alberta border protest blockade clears after police seize weapons
After 18 days of disrupting a Canada-U.S. border crossing, anti-COVID mandate protesters have dispersed their blockade near Coutts, Alberta. As Heather Yourex-West reports, the sudden end comes after charges were laid by police, over a seized cache of deadly weapons linked to the demonstrations – Feb 15, 2022

Eleven people involved in the Coutts border blockade were before a court Tuesday facing various weapons and mischief charges — and three among them were also charged with conspiracy to murder.

Two more individuals were later named with charges, including one more with conspiracy to murder.

The charges follow an early morning raid on Monday where RCMP found a cache of 13 long guns, handguns, body armour, large amounts of ammunition and high-capacity magazines in three trailers.

In a press release on Monday, police alleged the group was willing to use force if the blockade was disrupted.

Read more: Border operations resume after Coutts blockade dismantled in southern Alberta

“This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization,” RCMP said.

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All eleven of the individuals were charged with possession of a weapon and mischief to property over $5,000.

Anthony Olienick, Chris Carbert and Chris Lysak were also charged with conspiracy to murder.

Click to play video: 'Weapons and ammunition seized at border blockade in Coutts, Alberta' Weapons and ammunition seized at border blockade in Coutts, Alberta
Weapons and ammunition seized at border blockade in Coutts, Alberta – Feb 14, 2022

Lysak was also charged with uttering threats.

They all made virtual appearances in a Lethbridge court Tuesday afternoon.

Carbert, Lysak, Olienick were all remanded into custody and are expected back in court on Friday to discuss bail. Another individual, Evan Colenutt, was also remanded into custody.

Ursula Allred, Luke Berk, Johnson Law, Joanne Person, Justin Martin, Eastin Oler and Janx Zaremba were all released on bail with conditions, due to be back in court on March 15.

Read more: RCMP arrest 13 people, seize weapons and ammunition near Coutts border blockade

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Prosecutor Steven Johnston told the court those who have been charged can’t contact one another or be within a 200-metre radius of any protest.

Tuesday evening, RCMP announced 40-year-old Jerry Morin was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon and mischief to property over $5,000.

RCMP also announced Jaclynne Martin, 39, faces weapon and mischief charges.

Chief Supt. Trevor Daroux, Officer-in-Charge of the Southern Alberta District, said RCMP discovered that a small group of armed protesters were taking part in the blockade a few days into the protest.

“We took immediate action, arresting and charging a number of individuals,” he said. “This threat was very serious.”

Read more: Anti-hate experts concerned about possible neo-fascist involvement at Alberta trucker convoy

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Daroux said RCMP members were the targets of the alleged conspirators.

“The charge itself is a very serious charge and it’s more than just trifling with respect to the conspiracy itself. So we’re looking at facts behind that, any ability to actually follow through with it.”

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Officers who support protest ‘will be dealt with accordingly,’ interim chief says' Trucker protests: Officers who support protest ‘will be dealt with accordingly,’ interim chief says
Trucker protests: Officers who support protest ‘will be dealt with accordingly,’ interim chief says – Feb 15, 2022

Earlier on Tuesday, the blockade near the Coutts-Sweetgrass border crossing was disbanded and the Canadian Border Service Agency confirmed the crossing was open again. The blockade had been in place since Jan. 29.

“The development with weapons and the personal armour was not associated with us, and to keep that distance we decided to leave peacefully,” Marco Van Huigenbos, one of the protest organizers, said as a long line of trucks began to leave.

Read more: Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act for 1st time to aid convoy blockade response

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On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, including the broadening of Canada’s anti-terrorism finance laws and applying laws of proceeds of criminal activities to apply to crowdfunding sites.

Financial institutions were also given authority to freeze accounts that were suspected of supporting illegal blockades and occupations. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that also applied to insurance providers.

The full list of people and their charges, according to court documents:

Ursula Allred, 22, Magrath

  • mischief to property over $5,000
  • possession of a weapon

Luke Berk, 62, Red Deer

  • mischief to property over $5,000
  • possession of a weapon

Chris Carbert, 44, Lethbridge

  • conspiracy to murder
  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Evan Colenutt, 23, Raymond

  • mischief to property over $5,000
  • Possession of a weapon

Johnson Law, 39, Calgary

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Christopher Lysak, 48, Lethbridge

  • conspiracy to murder
  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000
  • uttering threats

Jaclyne Martin, 39

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Justin Martin, 22, Raymond

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Jerry Morin, 40

  • conspiracy to murder
  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Stewart Eastin Oler, 22, Raymond

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Anthony Olienick, 39, Claresholm

  • conspiracy to murder
  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Joanne Person, 62, Coutts

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

Janx Zaremba, 18, Raymond

  • possession of a weapon
  • mischief to property over $5,000

The defence counsel noted that Allred, Martin, Oler and Zaremba all lived and worked in Calgary.

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–with files from Liam Nixon and Amanda Connolly, Global News, and The Canadian Press

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