Alberta RCMP are still investigating several people they believe were issuing orders to the men now accused of plotting to murder Mounties at an anti-pandemic restriction border blockade last winter, newly released court documents show.
Police have identified a suspected leadership team outside of the Coutts border protest site that wanted to see not only vaccine mandates lifted but the “elimination … of the professional political class,” according to the documents.
Police ultimately foiled the alleged plan with an early morning Valentine’s Day raid that resulted in the seizures of several firearms and the arrests of 13 people, including four men now charged with conspiracy to murder.
Altering political, judicial and medical systems
In the days leading up to that raid, the documents allege the bosses outside of Coutts repeatedly called and texted the men with orders.
One text message, cited by police, shows the bosses told the men to spread the message that the real goal for the protest included altering Canada’s political, judicial and medical systems.
The names of those leading the four men continue to be redacted because they are the subject of an active investigation.
Men trained for months
On Wednesday, a Lethbridge provincial court judge lifted a sealing order on parts of four search warrant applications after a legal challenge from a group of news organizations, including CBC, Global, CTV, the Globe and Mail, Postmedia and the New York Times.
These new details are revealed in the applications to obtain phone recordings of the calls made by Anthony Olienick, 40, Jerry Morin, 41, Chris Lysak, 48, and Chris Carbert, 45, from the remand centres where they are being held pending trial. A judge granted those search warrants in May.
Olienick, Morin, Lysak and Carbert are all charged with conspiracy to murder, along with weapons and mischief charges. The details alleged in the court documents have not been tested in court.
Additionally, Olienick has been charged with making or possessing an explosive device, and Lysak has been charged with uttering threats.
The documents detail how police came to believe the four men trained for months, stockpiled weapons and ammunition, and were taking orders from the unidentified bosses.
During the RCMP investigation, Olienick told undercover officers that he believed “all police should die” and said protesters were prepared to “slit [officers’] throats,” the court documents allege.
3 men met in gun shop
In the months before the Coutts protest, Olienick allegedly told police he met Lysak and Carbert at a gun shop in Lethbridge, according to the summary of his police interview.
He then invited the two men and Morin to his rural property in the Municipality of Willow Creek, outside Claresholm, south of Calgary, where he ran his trucking business.
The group allegedly gathered on Sundays to “hang out, BBQ and shoot” as they prepared for the “collapse of society.”
They considered themselves “preppers,” Olienick told police, and said they expected they’d eventually “have to defend each other.”
By the time police raided Olienick’s properties in February, officers allege the man had stockpiled firearms, more than 36,000 rounds of ammunition and two pipe bombs with fuses that were strong enough to blow up cars.
Officers say they also seized four gas masks, camouflage and tactical gear.
‘Sheepdogs … to protect the flock’
Police have said they believe the four men were part of a subgroup of protesters who viewed themselves as a security team.
Olienick described his team as “sheepdogs … there to protect the flock,” according to the documents.
As CBC and The Fifth Estate previously reported, RCMP had several undercover officers in Coutts who were posing as protesters who befriended Olienick and Carbert.
On Feb. 12, Olienick told one of the undercover officers he believed he was fulfilling “his destiny” and said he wasn’t sure he’d survive “this war.”
“Olienick believed the police should all die,” according to the officer’s notes. “He also believed that if the police brought the war to Coutts, [the protesters] will slit their throats.”
Lysak called a ‘hitman’
As Olienick and the undercover officer were chatting, Lysak walked out of Smuggler’s Saloon, a bar in Coutts where protesters gathered.
According to the officer’s notes, Olienick pointed at Lysak and described his friend as “a hitman, a gunfighter and a long-range sniper.”
That undercover officer and her colleagues came to believe Olienick and the others were plotting to bring weapons to the protest site using hockey bags.
On top of that, the officer recorded Olienick’s desire to fight police.
According to the officer, Olienick said he feared police would come at night “when everyone was sleeping” and he would miss the chance to rally his troops “to fight.”
A ‘feud’ over leadership
Olienick also said he had a satellite phone and former military members on the outskirts of the protest site who would “rush in and smash through police vehicles.”
The newly unsealed records also detail numerous intercepted phone calls from the four men’s cellphones and show police were concerned the four men were co-ordinating to bring weapons from a second stockpile near Nanton.
Police said they intercepted a phone call between Olienick and an unnamed man in which the two discussed a “detailed list” of items to be brought to the protest site.
The records suggest tension between those on the ground and the people directing them who had not yet shown up to the protest site.
Carbert told the undercover officers there was a “feud” over leadership and training, and that he had called one of the bosses “a coward” who could not be bothered to come to the protest when he, Lysak and Olienick were “getting ready to f–king go.”
Late in the afternoon on Feb. 13, police intercepted text messages to Olienick requesting a meeting between the bosses, Olienick, Lysak and Carbert. The boss, whose name is redacted, told Olienick not to bring cellphones and instead use their radios.
When they got back to Coutts, officers arrested Lysak and charged him with uttering threats toward a police officer.
Later that night, police raided a property near the protest site, seizing weapons and arresting 13 people, including Carbert and Olienick.
Meanwhile, Morin had returned to his home near Olds, north of Calgary. On the morning of Feb. 14, police intercepted phone calls to Morin’s phone from one of the bosses.
Morin told the caller he was planning to go back to Coutts.
“Morin said he was not going to go down there and shoot people” before the caller “interrupted to say sarcastically ‘Oh, let’s talk about that over the phone, you f–king idiot.'”
Olienick’s Telegram conspiracy theory
Police followed Morin from his home as he drove south, arresting him near Calgary.
Once the four men were arrested, they gave interviews to police.
In his interview with police, Olienick told officers he believed the blockade would end only when police sided with protesters and the military stood down.
“When asked about the conspiracy to commit murder, Olienick said nothing happened but the firearms were in case RCMP pulled the trigger first,” the court documents said.
Olienick also told police he believed that when that happened, Canada would be invaded by a United Nations-directed army of Chinese troops to install a “totalitarian communist regime” with “executions and gas chambers.”
Olienick said he learned this conspiracy theory from Telegram.
Men made calls from jail
Once the three men were incarcerated in remand centres, their phone records showed they called the bosses directly or allegedly made contact with them through family members, police said.
The applications for the search warrants sought recordings of those phone calls in part because police believed the men may have discussed allegations circulating in media reports that they had been connected with an extremist network called Diagolon.
The court documents do not outline whether police have any specific evidence connecting Diagolon to the men or the alleged conspiracy.
Olienick, Lysak, Carbert and Morin are scheduled for trial in June 2023.