A white man in an attic, possibly in a house. The ceiling is lined with plastic. Behind him are wobbly plastic or metal shelves, sparsely stocked with small packages of stuff. You can see a few boxes of stuff on the floor behind him.
Frank Eckhardt in a ZDF documentary on preppers

Controversial Cape Breton land seller Frank Eckhardt wasn’t present for his arraignment in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court yesterday on a charge of extortion and a slew of weapons charges laid by the RCMP in December last year.

However, Eckhardt’s lawyer, Wayne MacMillan said he was not ready to respond to the 13 firearms, which were laid after RCMP seized 11 firearms, hundreds of boxes of ammunition, and more than $130,000 in cash.

That case will now be heard on April 25.

Eckhardt pleaded not guilty on the extortion charge, and a date for a pre-trial was set for March 31.

The Halifax Examiner has reported extensively on Frank Eckhardt himself, a survivalist and right-wing extremist whose company assists German-speaking “new settlers” moving to Cape Breton.

Eckhardt, 56, owns a company called F.E. Properties, which advertises itself to German-speakers as “Your partner for land acquisition in Canada.”

Eco Village sign in Richmond County. Photo: Joan Baxter
Eco Village sign in Richmond County. Photo: Joan Baxter

Eckhardt also operates an “Eco Village,” and a website that boasts about the advantages of life in Cape Breton “without W Lan [Wifi], vaccinations, 5G, free learning and without the need for school, in the middle of nature, that is almost nowhere else,” and the “networks with like-minded people.”

Eckhardt’s website offers a long list of “rules, terms and conditions and disclaimer” for anyone wishing to visit his “Cape Breton Eco Village” in Grand River, Richmond County.

As Tim Bousquet detailed here, court documents show that before the weapons and extortion charges were laid in December 2021, Eckhardt had been the subject of eight prior police investigations, beginning in 2018. One of those was a firearm complaint in August 2021, when a woman driving on Smiths Road in front of Eckhardt’s property was confronted by a man with a long gun.

From Bousquet’s article:

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 cartage
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 ammunitioBlack 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

On the alleged extortion, Bousquet reported:

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.

The conditions have been extended until Eckhardt’s next court dates — March 31 for a pre-trial on the extortion charge, and April 25 on the firearms charge.

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Joan Baxter is an award-winning Nova Scotian journalist and author of seven books, including "The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest." Website: www.joanbaxter.ca; Twitter @joan_baxter

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