The Albertans arrested for carrying an arms cache near the Canadian border this week were not members of the Freedom Convoy, a local official says.
Mounties arrested 11 people Monday in the Village of Coutts, near the Montana border, and seized multiple long guns, hundreds of bullets, and body armor.
While the men were initially tied to the ongoing anti-vaccine mandate protests, it was determined that they were not involved in the Freedom Convoy movement, Mayor Jim Willett told DailyMail.com.
‘The people who were actually involved in the arrests were not part of the blockade group,’ he said. ‘They were outsiders.’
The mayor described the individuals as outside agitators who came to town after the protest began.
‘As time went on, the protest began to attract people from the outside,’ he said. ‘They were starting to attract the undesirable element. The people who were actually involved in the arrests were not part of the blockade group. They were outsiders.’
The men arrested include Chris Carbert, 44, Christopher Lysak, 48, and Anthony Olienick, 39, of Claresholm, who face charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
Charged with mischief and possession of a weapon were: Ursula Allred; Evan Colenutt, 23; Johnson Chichow Law, 39; Justin Martin, 22; Eastin Stewart Oler, 22; Joanne Person, 62; and Janx Zaremba, 18.
Luke Berk, 62, was charged with mischief.
There’s no indication the guns were connected to the theft early Sunday of a parked tractor trailer carrying some 2,000 small-caliber guns manufactured by Savage Arms. Police said that case was a crime of opportunity carried out by crooks who first tried to gain access to several other trucks.
In Alberta, Mounties seized this cache of weapons on Monday morning, but the mayor of the village where they were discovered claims the weapons weren’t connected with the ongoing Freedom Convoy riots
Protests continued at the movement’s Ottawa epicenter Tuesday, where a man was pictured blocking the city’s Wellington Street
Bulford alleged the stolen arms shipment in Peterborough could be connected to a plot to frame protesters in Ottawa
Early on Sunday, thieves (left and right) stole a parked tractor trailer carrying some 2,000 small-caliber guns manufactured by Savage Arms, but police say that it was a crime of opportunity
The Freedom Convoy, a trucker-led movement calling on the government to lift vaccine mandates, is largely based in Ottawa, where parts of the country’s capital city have been occupied by protestors since late January.
The convoy also blocked US border crossings, including a key trade route that was cleared by police last weekend.
Controversy surrounding how police have managed the protests prompted the abrupt resignation of Police Chief Peter Sloly on Tuesday.
He stepped down after being criticized for not doing enough to stop the unruly protests, which prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke emergency powers on Monday.
Ottawa police did not respond to a request for comment, and Trudeau’s public safety minister said the government had no role in his decision to resign.
The Freedom Convoy, a trucker-led movement calling on the government to lift vaccine mandates, is largely based in Ottawa. A protestor is seen lifting a flag in the nation’s capital on February 15, 2022
The convoy of trucks has jammed up city streets and paralyzed traffic. Transports are pictured blocking a road on February 15, 2022
Pictured: Protest supporters pull fuel cans in wagons in front of Parliament Hill on February 15, 2022
A trucker is pictured lifting weights in between instances of protesting against Covid-19 mandates on February 15, 2022
The protest has been going on since late January, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday to invoke emergency powers
Meantime, leaders of the Freedom Convoy protests have alleged that ‘nefarious elements’ are plotting to plant stolen guns on demonstrators in Ottawa in a bid to ‘discredit’ their movement, a day after Mounties seized 15 guns and arrested 11 people thousands of miles away in Alberta.
Danny Bulford, the self-described head of security for the Freedom Convoy, made the allegation in a video address late Monday, suggesting the plot is connected to a truck full of firearms that was stolen in Ontario on Sunday.
‘We received information from multiple believed-reliable sources that firearms may be planted in Ottawa, specifically around the Freedom Convoy, to discredit the protest and to use as a pretext to forcibly remove peaceful protesters,’ said Bulford, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.
‘This private intelligence correlates with the approximately 2,000 firearms stolen in Peterborough, Ontario on Sunday morning,’ he continued. ‘Our sources have notified us that these weapons may be planted by nefarious elements, and at this point, we have no further knowledge about who is behind this act of sabotage.’
Controversy surrounding how police have managed the protests prompted the abrupt resignation of Police Chief Peter Sloly on Tuesday. Two officers are pictured walking past illegally-parked vehicles on February 15, 2022
Lines of big rigs are pictured clogging Ottawa’s downtown streets on February 15, 2022
Fed-up truckers launched their convoy over growing frustration with lockdowns, pandemic-related mandates, and vaccine requirements. They’re pictured on February 15, 2022
A sign directs police to place parking tickets in a toilet on February 15, 2022
A trucker inspects the engine of his big rig in the snow-covered city on February 15, 2022
The small-caliber guns stolen on Sunday in Ontario were taken from a parked tractor belonging to gun maker Savage Arms, but police say that it was a crime of opportunity and unrelated to the protests.
Bulford did not allege that a separate cache of weapons, body armor and a machete seized on Monday from a border blockade in Alberta were planted, and protest leaders have so far declined to publicly address the Alberta arrests.
A senior official with the Mounties told DailyMail.com that there is no information linking the stolen gun shipment in Ontario with the firearms seized in Alberta.
It comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau activated rarely used emergency powers in an effort to crack down on the protests against vaccine mandates, which continue to paralyze the capital city of Ottawa and block several western border crossings.
Crowds of Canadians continue to put pressure on the government to lift mandates while protesting outside the parliament on February 15, 2022
Danny Bulford, the self-described head of security for the Freedom Convoy, alleged that ‘nefarious elements’ are plotting to plant stolen guns on demonstrators in Ottawa in a bid to ‘discredit’ their movement
Sunday’s brazen gun shipment heist occurred at about 3am at a trucking company on Parkhill Road East in Peterborough, a city of 81,000 about 85 miles northeast of Toronto.
‘The investigation is leaning toward an isolated crime of opportunity, rather than a targeted incident,’ said Peterborough Police Service Detective Staff Sergeant Michael Jackson in a briefing.
‘It is believed that the suspects entered several other commercial yards in the city before this one, and they had attempted to take different trucks and trailers before leaving with the truck and trailer unit sought in this incident,’ he added.
Police say that the thieves arrived at the scene in a four-door blue sedan, which then left together with the stolen truck.
Bulford, who resigned from the Mounties last year over their vaccine mandate, did not say in his statement did not say what evidence he had to support the theory that the stolen guns would be planted on demonstrators in Ottawa.
People walk past vehicles blocking a road during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Monday
‘As soon as we received this information, we notified the appropriate authorities with whom we are collaborating, including the Ottawa Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Parliamentary Protective Service,’ said Bulford.
Bulford insisted that the Freedom Convoy protests were committed to pursuing change within the ‘democratic process,’ saying: ‘We have never, nor do we every intend, to step outside of this democratic process.’
The gun shipment stolen in Peterborough appears to have absolutely no connection with the guns seized on Monday in Alberta, though that did not stop online conspiracy theorists from attempting to connect the two events.
Photos of the guns seized in Alberta do not match the description of the guns stolen in Peterborough, which is 2,000 miles and a 35-hour drive away.
A senior official with the Mounties told DailyMail.com in an interview that there was no reason to believe that the guns stolen in Ontario were linked to the cache seized in Alberta.
‘The distance from Ontario to here would be prohibitive, so that is highly unlikely,’ said RCMP Superintendent Roberta McKale. ‘There’s no reason to link the two.’
‘We still have the matter of the firearms under investigation, and at this point there is no information to link the stolen firearms in Ontario to our situation in Alberta,’ she added.
Eleven people connected to the anti-vaccine mandate protests were arrested in the Alberta village of Coutts, close to the Montana border, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police said on Monday.
Mounties also seized a cache of firearms including multiple long guns, hundreds of bullets and body armor. Cops have not identified the owners, and it is unclear if the weapons seized were legally held.
‘The Alberta RCMP recently became aware of a small organized group within the larger Coutts protest,’ the Mounties said in a statement.
‘Information was received that this group had access to a cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition.
‘The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade. This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization.’
Early on Monday morning, the RCMP, equipped with a search warrant, raided three trailers and arrested the 11.
The police found 13 long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armor and a machete. They said they seized a large quantity of ammunition and high capacity magazines.
Unlike the United States, where firearms are primarily regulated by the state, in Canada, firearms are federally regulated.
Some weapons, including automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns and rifles, and switch blade knives, are ‘prohibited weapons.’
Other firearms, such as handguns and semi-automatic weapons with short barrels (less than 18 1/2 inches), are ‘restricted weapons.’
Anyone may possess a restricted firearm if they have obtained a ‘registration certificate.’
Hunting rifles and shotguns are neither restricted nor prohibited, but it is illegal to possess them without a firearms acquisitions certificate.
On Monday, Trudeau invoked emergency powers to quell the paralyzing protests, outlining plans not only to tow away their rigs but to strike at their bank accounts and their livelihoods
Messages and placards of support during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules and the Trudeau government, outside the parliament of Canada in Ottawa on Monday
Drivers have parked their trucks blocking lanes of traffic to protest against pandemic restrictions in Ottawa on Monday
So far, Freedom Convoy leaders have not addressed the arrests in Alberta, and cut a press conference short on Monday when they were asked about the incident.
On Monday afternoon, Trudeau invoked emergency powers to quell the paralyzing protests by truckers, outlining plans not only to tow away their rigs but to strike at their bank accounts and their livelihoods.
‘These blockades are illegal, and if you are still participating, the time to go home is now,’ he declared.
In invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act, which gives the federal government broad powers to restore order, Trudeau ruled out using the military.
His government instead threatened to tow away vehicles to keep essential services running; freeze truckers’ personal and corporate bank accounts; and suspend the insurance on their rigs.
‘Consider yourselves warned,’ Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. ‘Send your rigs home.’
Freeland, who is also the finance minister, said the government will also broaden its anti-money-laundering regulations to target crowd-funding sites that are being used to support the illegal blockades.
Trudeau did not indicate when the new crackdowns would begin. But he gave assurances the emergency measures ‘will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.’