Quebec RCMP search properties with alleged ties to neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen

Officials say the investigation is one of national security

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RCMP officers descended on two properties in Quebec Thursday that are allegedly tied to a neo-Nazi terrorist group.

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Quebec RCMP said on Twitter that the searches were carried out as part of an investigation targeting individuals in the province with suspected ties to Atomwaffen Division, which is listed by the federal government as a terror group.

A SWAT team and canine unit were part of a contingent of about 60 RCMP officers who executed search warrants in St-Ferdinand and Plessisville, two towns located between Montreal and Quebec City.

According to Quebec RCMP Sgt. Charles Poirier, this investigation, which started in 2020, is one of national security and spearheaded by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.

“There are no arrests that are planned for today and no criminal charges,” Poirier said. “We’re just going there to search.”

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Quebec RCMP conducted searches in St-Ferdinand and Plessisville Thursday morning at properties with alleged ties to the Atomwaffen Division terrorist group.
Quebec RCMP conducted searches in St-Ferdinand and Plessisville Thursday morning at properties with alleged ties to the Atomwaffen Division terrorist group. Photo by RCMP

Poirier said there was no threat to public safety, but he added that an emergency response team was dispatched because of “the nature of the group,” which advocates for acts of violence.

The Atomwaffen division was founded in the United States in 2013. They were listed as a terrorist group in Canada in 2021.

In 2020, the group garnered police attention over a string of alleged “swatting” offences — a term used to describe the act of fabricating emergencies to trick SWAT units into action, exhausting police resources.

The group’s activities in the U.S. are similar. In 2020, alleged members were charged for running intimidation campaigns against journalists and members of the Anti-Defamation League in retaliation for reporting on the group’s members and activities.

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The federal Public Safety Department’s website says Atomwaffen Division, which is also known as the National Socialist Order or NSO, calls for “acts of violence against racial, religious, and ethnic groups,” as well as against informants, police, and bureaucrats, “to prompt the collapse of society.”

Quebec RCMP conducted searches in St-Ferdinand and Plessisville Thursday morning at properties with alleged ties to the Atomwaffen Division terrorist group.
Quebec RCMP conducted searches in St-Ferdinand and Plessisville Thursday morning at properties with alleged ties to the Atomwaffen Division terrorist group. Photo by RCMP

The group has carried out violent acts at public rallies, including in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, the government site states.

Poirier couldn’t comment on the specific criminal activities Atomwaffen partakes in but said they “obviously target some specific groups” like minorities and members of the LGBTQ community. He emphasized, however, that he is not an expert when it comes to their exact criminal misconduct.

“They have done some violent acts in the past,” Poirier said. “I also know that my colleagues in Ontario have arrested one in May.”

Poirier was referring to Seth Bertrand, a 19-year-old man from Windsor who was charged with terrorism after allegedly enlisting to join the Atomwaffen Division last month. Since 2013, the Neo-Nazi group has spread to both Canada and the United Kingdom with an unknown number of members.

With additional reporting from Adrian Humphreys, The Canadian Press and Montreal Gazettte

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