Murder-conspiracy trial hears prohibited gun seized at Coutts border blockade

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

A firearms expert told a murder-conspiracy trial Tuesday that a rifle seized in raids near the border blockade at Coutts, Alta., was a prohibited weapon.

Bryan Hui with the RCMP national firearms lab in Surrey, B.C., testified by video. He said he reviewed all weapons, components and ammunition seized in 2022 from trailers in Coutts, suspect vehicles and a home of one of the accused, Anthony Olienick.

A photo of a long, black semi-automatic Panther Arms rifle with a pistol grip was shown to the jury.

It’s prohibited, Hui said.

“It is known as a variant of the AR-15 or the M-16 or M-4 platform,” he told court.

“In other words, it’s proscribed to be a prohibited firearm within the regulations set out by law.”

Olienick and Chris Carbert are charged with conspiracy to commit murder of police at the blockade, which tied up traffic for two weeks at the busy Canada-U.S. border crossing in a protest of COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandates. 

Olienick and Carbert are also charged with mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Olienick faces a further charge of possessing a pipe bomb.

The judge dismissed the jury early Tuesday due to a medical issue. Hui was scheduled to continue testifying Wednesday.

The trial earlier heard that police found rifles, body armour, buckets of ammunition and a firearms licence in Carbert’s name in trailers in Coutts.

More weapons, ammunition and two pipe bombs were later found at Olienick’s home.

Undercover officers, posing as volunteers at the blockade, testified that Olienick said he believed Mounties were the tools of “devil” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and deserved to be hanged.

The officers told court that Olienick said if police raided the blockade, he would “slit their throats.” 

The trial has also seen text messages from Carbert warning his mother of war, saying he’s prepared to die.

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