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RCMP officers raided the Beausejour home of a Canadian Army Reserves leader identified as a recruiter for a violent neo-Nazi paramilitary organization on Monday night, neighbours say.
Earlier Monday, the Free Press reported Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, 26, an active Winnipeg reserves combat engineer, holds membership in The Base, which represents the most violent, radical fringes of the far-right hate movement.
Neighbours told the Free Press Mathews was taken out of his house and into custody by officers late Monday evening, as police vehicles and officers lined the quiet street. In a video obtained by the Free Press, RCMP officers can be heard addressing Mathews over a speaker, announcing they had a search warrant for the house and asking him to exit with his hands in the air.
In a written statement, Manitoba RCMP spokesman Robert Cyrenne said the Mounties executed a public safety warrant at a residence in Beausejour at about 10 p.m., but did not specify whether it was Mathews who was taken into custody. Several firearms were seized.
The investigation is ongoing and there is no one in custody at this time, Cyrenne said.
Military, RCMP investigating Winnipeg neo-Nazi army reserves leaderClick to Expand
Posted: 7:00 PM Aug. 19, 2019
At least two investigations are underway into the extremist activity of Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, an active combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserves in Winnipeg who holds membership in a violent neo-Nazi hate group.
The investigations — one conducted by the armed forces and the other by the RCMP — come in the wake of a Free Press report identifying Mathews, 26, as the man behind the recent recruitment drive in Winnipeg for a neo-Nazi paramilitary group called The Base.
Mathews’ extremist activity and affiliation with the hate group are under investigation by both the Armed Forces and the RCMP. A report has also been filed with the provincial Chief Firearms Officer, the official responsible for administering gun licences. Mathews is known to have several long guns and a pistol.
Meanwhile, Col. Gwen Bourque, commander of the 38 Canadian Brigade Group, spoke to reporters on a teleconference call this morning.
Bourque said Mathews is a "Class A" part-time soldier and last worked for the reserves in May. He is next scheduled to work in September, and he remains an active member while the military’s investigation is ongoing.
She stressed recent claims made against Mathews in the Free Press are allegations. She also said Mathews’ explosives training was "rudimentary" and he has no access to military weaponry.
In a previous report, the Free Press said combat engineers — the position Mathews holds in the armed forces — are trained as "explosives experts," citing a military source.
Mathews would not comment when approached by a reporter outside the home Tuesday morning.
Sarah Lockhart, who lives three houses down the street from the raided house, said she had no idea what was happening when sirens started blaring outside her window Monday night as she was watching a movie with her four-month-old daughter, Peyton.
Suddenly, the street was lined with more than a dozen police vehicles, she said.
"My house was surrounded," said the 25-year-old. "I was like, 'What is going on?'"
Lockhart said she saw a man handcuffed and taken into custody at the end of the street, and said RCMP stayed at the scene until close to 1 a.m. Tuesday. She said she didn't know much about the man she saw taken into custody, and that the incident will likely affect the community's sense of safety.
"I think people are shaken up," she said. "People will definitely be getting to know their neighbours after this."
— With files from Ryan Thorpe