RCMP conduct raids in central Quebec targeting Atomwaffen Division neo-Nazi group

·3 min read
RCMP officers raided a house southwest of Quebec City in connection with a 'national security operation' targeting the neo-Nazi group the Atomwaffen Division. (Submitted by the RCMP - image credit)
RCMP officers raided a house southwest of Quebec City in connection with a 'national security operation' targeting the neo-Nazi group the Atomwaffen Division. (Submitted by the RCMP - image credit)

Around 60 RCMP officers conducted raids southwest of Quebec City, targeting people connected to the neo-Nazi group the Atomwaffen Division.

"It's a far-right affiliated group, which could be described as having neo-Nazi allegiance," RCMP Cpl. Charles Poirier said.

Poirier said two search warrants were executed in the towns of Saint-Ferdinand and Plessisville in what he called a "national security operation."

Poirier said there was no threat to the general public.

He said this is the culmination of an investigation that began in 2020.

Poirier said a command centre has been established beside a church and RCMP officers are searching a house behind the church.

An emergency response team, an armoured vehicle, police dogs and Sûreté du Québec police officers are assisting in the search.

Third raid this year

Atomwaffen Division is a neo-Nazi group founded in the U.S. in 2013. The group claims to be inspired by the serial killer Charles Manson and posits that history will end in a race war.

CBC News
CBC News

Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst and associate professor at Carleton University, noted that this is the third raid by the RCMP targeting the Atomwaffen Division this year.

Last month, RCMP arrested a 19-year-old man from Windsor, Ont., over alleged links to the group.

And in March, RCMP in Ottawa raided the home of Patrick Gordon Macdonald, a key figure in the group who was known by the name "Dark Foreigner."

"It really does suggest that this movement is alive and well in Canada," Carvin said.

She said the group is more commonly known now as the New Socialist Order and that such groups frequently change their names and reorganize but continue to espouse the same far-right views.

"They want the collapse of society because in the end, the goal of these groups is to create a white ethno-state, and they only see that happening through some kind of civil war," Carvin said.

Carvin said she's not sure why the RCMP would execute such warrants without planning to make any arrests.

"It's hard to know exactly what they're looking for. They may just simply be building a case, trying to understand the network," she said.

Submitted by the RCMP
Submitted by the RCMP

"But in order to get a warrant, you have to show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that individuals are engaged in kind of violent extremism activities," Carvin said.

"So it's not just a hunch. It's not just a suspicion," she said.

"You really want to do it in order to prosecute individuals who may actually be involved in violent extremist activity," she said.

"No arrests have been made today and no criminal charges are anticipated today," RCMP Cpl. Tasha Adams told Radio-Canada.

"Search warrants are being conducted to gather more evidence with regards to this investigation," she said.

"It's possible that in the future we'll be conducting further police operations with regards to the evidence that will be collected here today," Adams said.

Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, told CBC in an interview he's glad the RCMP is taking the group seriously.

"I have to say that I've been impressed with the amount of attention that they have paid to not only Atomwaffen but to other groups of its kind — hardcore right, neo-Nazi white supremacist groups,"  Farber said.

"They're taking every precaution and doing things the right way. I think this is what Canadians should be applauding," he said.

The RCMP said the search warrants were executed without incident and the operation wrapped up at about 7 p.m. but the investigation remains ongoing.

Cpl. Adams said that because the investigation, which began in 2020, is ongoing, she could not talk about what was seized or if the searches were connected to other investigations.

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