One man has been arrested in the case of a string of bombings of EnCana Corp. natural gas facilities in the Dawson Creek area of British Columbia (BC) during 2008 and 2009. The arrest followed the search of a rural farm in Hythe, AB, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Friday.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported Friday that the man arrested is Wiebo Ludwig and that he would be charged with one count of extortion, according to his lawyer, Paul Moreau, whose office was closed Friday afternoon. In the late 1990s Ludwig was arrested after bombings and other attacks on natural gas infrastructure, according to the newspaper. An Internet search of his name reveals that he is no stranger to anti-oil and gas industry activism.

RCMP members from E and K Divisions led by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) are currently conducting a criminal code search warrant on a large rural property located near Hythe, AB, to search for evidence relating to the Dawson Creek bombings. It is not known how long investigators will remain on the property, RCMP said.

“We cannot say what we are looking for specifically, or what information led us to the location, but we have followed a trail of evidence that ultimately led to the execution of the search warrant,” said Supt. Lloyd Plante, assistant criminal operations officer for the RCMP’s National Security Program in British Columbia.

EnCana facilities have been a frequent target of sabotage by those opposed to energy development in the Dawson Creek area (see NGI, Jan. 19, 2009; Jan. 12, 2009; Dec. 8, 2008, Oct. 20, 2008). A letter last year addressed to EnCana from someone claiming to be the bomber read in part: “You simply can’t win this fight because you are on the wrong side of the argument. So stop pushing people around here” (see NGI, July 20, 2009).

RCMP said it could not release the name of the man arrested since he had not been formally charged. “This investigation is far from over. Criminal charges have not been laid, and investigators have a significant amount of work ahead of them.”

The $1 million reward being offered by EnCana (see NGI, Aug. 3, 2009) has not been claimed. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the dedicated tip line at (866) 994-7473.

“EnCana is very pleased to see the RCMP has advanced its investigation into the bombings near Dawson Creek of natural gas facilities,” the company said in a statement. “EnCana hopes this development will begin to bring a measure of relief to the area residents and help restore the long-standing sense of neighborly trust that has been a fundamental component of the fabric of the communities affected by these events.”

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