The RCMP have seized 11 firearms, hundreds of boxes of ammunition, and more than $130,000 in cash from Frank Eckhardt, the survivalist and right-wing extremist whose company assists German-speaking “new settlers” moving to Cape Breton.
The weapons, ammo, and cash were seized as a search warrant was executed at Eckhardt’s Grand River residence on December 23. Eckhardt was arrested the same day, and charged with 13 firearm offences.
The reasons for the search and the items seized are detailed in court documents obtained by the Halifax Examiner.
Eckhardt was previously arrested on December 10 and charged with extortion. The court documents explain that a couple from Germany — S.S. and D.W. (the Examiner is not using the full names of alleged victims or police informants) — moved with their child to Canada in December 2020, with the assistance of Eckhardt’s company, F.E Property Sales Canada.
On their arrival in Canada, the family lived with Eckhardt on his property in Grand River for three months. They also bought property from Eckhardt on West Bay Highway in Cape George.
They opened a gym in St. Peter’s, in a building leased from Eckhardt. Someone with knowledge of the situation told the Examiner that Eckhardt was charging the family $3,800 a month, while they also ran the gym on his behalf.
According to the court documents, S.S. told police that “issues began in late fall of 2021,” causing the couple to end their lease agreement with Eckhardt for the gym building. “Eckhardt was not happy, made threats, and was later charged with extortion” by the RCMP.
Eckhardt was released from custody on conditions, which appear to include staying away from the family, but he allegedly breached that condition twice by visiting the gym.
Hiding in the woods
Eckhardt owns two properties in the Grand River area — a 40-hectare parcel where he lives with his wife and three children, but also an undeveloped three-acre lot on West Bay Highway that is adjacent to the property he sold to S.S. and D.W.
As alleged by D.W., Eckhardt had told the couple that despite his court conditions, he was entitled to go to his West Bay Highway property.
At about 4pm on December 20, S.S. and D.W. were with their five-year-old son on their property, cutting down a Christmas tree, when they heard two gun shots. The family ran into the woods to hide, and called a friend, R.M., who then called the RCMP.
S.S. told the police that she believed the gunshots they heard were fired by Eckhardt, but they did not see Eckhardt actually fire a gun; she believed the shots were intimidation related to the extortion charge.
While being questioned by police, both S.S. and D.W. related several instances of Eckhardt carelessly and illegally handling weapons. S.S. told police that Eckhardt had “a lot of weapons,” “keeps a loaded firearm in his bedroom,” and “keeps his guns loaded at all times.”
S.S. said that Eckhardt often wears a shoulder holster with a pistol in it, and that Eckhardt told her the pistol was used to shoot coyotes. One night, when her family was living with Eckhardt, he was firing the pistol of the second floor balcony of the house.
In August 2021, S.S. said she and her family were at Point Michaud Beach when Eckhardt showed up wearing a heavy jacket and pants. S.S. told Eckhardt it was too hot to be wearing such clothes and he should take his jacket off. “He motioned to where his shoulder holster would have been and tapped the area,” telling S.S., “you know why I can’t take my coat off.”
S.S. also related an incident involving a friend, M.E.
An RCMP officer contacted M.E. by phone; M.E. has since moved back to Germany.
M.E. confirmed the story S.S. had told police. He said that on August 25, 2021, he went to Eckhardt’s Smith Road property with the plan to travel with Eckhardt to the property of another man, A.D., so the three could shoot guns at A.D.’s firing range. While at Eckhardt’s house, Eckhardt showed M.E. his gun lockers, which held seven to 10 firearms.
“Eckhardt handed him a rifle, he checked the firearm to make sure it was unloaded (it was) so he put it in a travel case.” Eckhardt picked up three other firearms and put them in the back seat of his truck and the pair drove to A.D.’s property. “The firearms were not secured in any way; no trigger locks were used.”
When the got to A.D.’s property, they took the weapons out of the backseat of the truck and placed them on a shooting bench; there was also a handgun on the bench.
“While they were setting up, A.D. handled one of Eckhardt’s rifles and it went off, nobody was hurt.”
M.E. “told Eckhardt that we was crazy for transporting loaded guns, [and] Eckhardt replied ‘oh.”
The three then checked all the other guns Eckhardt had placed in the back of the truck, and they were all loaded, “meaning they had been loaded during transport.” The only gun that wasn’t loaded was the gun M.E. had checked at Eckhardt’s house.
M.E. said that “Eckhardt told him that a lot of people don’t like him, so he needs to be able to defend himself.”
Prior police investigations
The court documents say that Eckhardt had been the subject of eight prior police investigations, beginning in 2018, but the documents only give details about one of them, which involved a firearm complaint.
On August 8, 2021, a woman was driving along Smiths Road in front of Eckhardt’s property when she was confronted by a man carrying a long gun. The woman drove off, and was unable to identified the man; Eckhardt was questioned by police but not charged.
Eckhardt has a possession/acquisition firearms licence that include restricted firearms like hand guns, and he has in fact registered three hand guns:
• Sig Sauer, model P320 — 40 caliber Smith and Wesson
• Glock, model 35 — 40 caliber Smith and Wesson
• Alfa, model 2361 revolver, 22 caliber
Eckhardt’s firearms licence is still valid, but because of the extortion charge is in “review” status, which means he can’t acquire any new firearms.
The search warrant application was submitted by RCMP officer Jordan Mcintyre of the Inverness County detachment. Mcintyre wrote that he was investigating several indictable offences, including four instances of unsafely transporting firearms, and a fifth offence of concealing a handgun.
The warrant application was approved by Justice of Police Darlene Lamey.
The following items were seized at Eckhardt’s house on Smith Road:
(3) discharged Nosler .308 Rifle ammunition cartages
Savage Model 10 – .308 bolt action rifle
JP Sauer & Sohn, .22 rifle
Carl Gustafs Sweedish Mauser, 6.5x55mm bolt action rifle
Winchester 1300XTR 12 gauge pump action shotgun
Kragg Jorgensen 30-40 bolt action rifle
Norinco JW2000 12-gauge, double barrelled shotgun
(2) Remington 12-gauge shotgun shells
Sig Sauer P320 $D S&W semi-automatic, handgun
Glock 35 Gen4, 40 S&W semi-automatic handgun
Glock magazine, w/ 10 X 40 S&W pistol rounds
Alfa Proj 22 calibre revolver w/ leather holster
(84) 22 WM ammunition
Black leather belt with (2) Gryphon pistol holsters
Thompson Centre percussion pistol, 45 caliber
Percussion pistol — unknown make, stamp — W Germany
Brown envelope with $80,000 CDN currency
Sig Sauer magazine 40 S&W w/ 5 rounds ammunition
(12) boxes 40 S&W ammunition — Blazer Brand
(11) boxes 40 S&W ammunition — Blazer Brand
(10) boxes 40 S&W ammunition — PMC Brand
(9) boxes Winchester Super X 6.5x55mm ammunition
(9) boxes 22 WMR annunition — CCI Brand
(2) boxes .308 ammunition — Browning Brand
(2) 1000 gram containers of black powder — Swiss Powder Brand
(41) boxes 22 WM ammunition — Hornandy Brand
(5) boxes 40 calibre ammunition — Remington Brand
(4) boxes 22 calibre ammunition — Sellier & Bellot Brand
(1) box 6.5x55mm ammunition ‚ Federal Brand
(23) boxes of 12-gauge shotgun ammunition — various brands
(19) boxes .308 ammunition — Hornandy brand
Firearms registration/licence documents — 2 pieces
Black pouch w/ $29,050 CDN currency
Large envelope with $100 CDN currency
Envelop w/ $3,300 CDN currency
White Envelope w/ $3,500 CDN currency
Amazon envelope w/ $21,300 CDN currency
None of the allegations in the court documents have been proven. Eckhardt will appear in court on February 9 for the weapons charges, and on February 28 for the extortion charge.
As originally published, the second paragraph in this article misidentified the location of Eckhardt’s house, although the correct location was in the rest of the article.