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A truck convoy of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate demonstrators continue to block the highway at the busy U.S. border crossing in Coutts, Alta., on February 2, 2022. A local Alberta politician facing charges for participating in "Freedom Convoy" protests at the Coutts border blockade is set to testify Tuesday at the public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshJeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Investigators found two pipe bombs, 36,098 rounds of ammunition in plastic containers, gas masks, firearms and accessories on a property belonging to one of the men accused of plotting to kill Mounties at the border blockade in southern Alberta, RCMP allege in newly unsealed court documents.

Police found the stash on Anthony Olienick’s property in February, after he and three others were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to documents filed with the court to obtain search warrants. RCMP allege in the documents that the men were part of a larger unnamed group, which included people who had access to Mr. Olienick’s property and delivered materials to him during the protests. They also planned to deliver additional supplies, the RCMP allege.

An explosives team dismantled the two pipe bombs and determined each contained enough firepower to blow up a car and could have been lethal, according to the court documents.

Protesters gathered in Coutts, a small community located next to a Canada-U.S. border crossing, at the end of January to express frustration with government vaccination mandates and public-health restrictions related to COVID-19. The protest started as a rolling convoy in support of a larger convoy of vehicles that eventually took over downtown Ottawa.

The demonstration in Coutts blocked the border along Highway 4, with a secondary protest about 20 kilometres north, near Milk River. RCMP, in the court documents, said undercover operatives learned that some protesters were planning to sneak weapons into Coutts and were preparing for “war.” RCMP raided two trailers and a mobile home in Coutts, where they found a stockpile of weapons, shortly after midnight on Feb. 14.

Protesters in Coutts dismantled the border blockade Feb. 15, after RCMP charged the four men with conspiracy to commit murder and others with lesser crimes. The broader group said they did not want to be associated with violence and guns.

None of the allegations has been tested in court. A provincial court judge on Wednesday unsealed four documents related to the search warrants after an application by The Globe and Mail and other news organizations. The documents reveal extensive communication among group members before and during the gathering in Coutts, and RCMP believe some of the accused communicated with group members, through intermediaries, while in custody. Some details, such as the names of people still under investigation, are redacted.

The four men remain in custody; their joint trial is scheduled for June, 2023. Lawyers for the accused did not return messages seeking comment.

The judge previously unsealed documents that disclosed RCMP used wiretaps without judicial authorization to monitor the four men’s cellphones. Authorities are permitted to take such action, although it is rare and the circumstances must be urgent, such as in cases when lives are at risk.

The court filings do not indicate whether RCMP believed Mr. Olienick and his associates planned to transport the pipe bombs and other supplies found on his property to Coutts. However, RCMP in the documents allege Mr. Olienick was frustrated others were not providing him with all the equipment he wanted. The documents also show the four men were angry some of their associates did not join them in Coutts and Milk River.

None of the accused was known to police when the undercover operation started in February, according to the documents.

Mr. Olienick told police he had known his co-accused – Christopher Carbert, Christopher Lysak and Jerry Morin – for a couple months prior to his arrest in mid-February. Mr. Olienick said he met Mr. Lysak at a gun shop in Lethbridge, and then met Mr. Carbert.

“They would hang out, BBQ and shoot,” the RCMP said. “Olienick said every Sunday people would come over to his house. They were ‘preppers’ and would can (can food) because they did not know what would happen with the collapse of society and they would have to defend each other.”

Mr. Olienick told an undercover operative Mr. Lysak was “a hit man, a gun fighter and a long-range sniper,” according to the documents. Mr. Carbert said he and Mr. Lysak had known each other for 25 to 30 years.

The four men, as well as their associates who did not protest in southern Alberta, had disagreements about how to proceed. One group member, whose name is redacted in the court filings, was concerned “Olienick, Carbert and Lysak’s actions would lead to the rest of the group, including those outside of Coutts, to be taken down” by police, RCMP said in the documents. The police believed the person’s concern “related to the group’s survival and he did not believe what Olienick, Carbert and Lysak wanted to do would be effective.”