January 9, 2010 in Nation/World

Arrest made in bomb probe

Activist not yet charged in Canadian oil lines attacks
Jeremy Hainsworth Associated Press
File Associated Press photo

Wiebo Ludwig talks to reporters as he makes his way to court in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, in this Aug. 1, 2007, photo.
(Full-size photo)

VANCOUVER, B.C. – An anti-energy industry activist convicted of bombing oil and gas wells a decade ago was arrested Friday in connection with the investigation into a series of pipeline bombings in northeastern British Columbia, his lawyer said.

Wiebo Ludwig is being investigated on charges of extortion against EnCana Corp., one of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies, Ludwig’s lawyer Paul Moreau said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Tim Shields would not identify the man arrested as he has yet to be charged.

About 30 officers were searching a farm in the western Alberta town of Hythe in connection with the case, Shields said. The farm belongs to Ludwig, Moreau said.

There have been six bombings of EnCana pipelines in British Columbia since October 2008. No one was injured in the attacks, which caused only minor disruptions to pipeline operations.

Moreau said he’s not sure what’s behind the extortion allegation and has not yet seen the evidence against Ludwig.

Moreau said his client was called to a meeting with police Friday at a motel in nearby Grande Prairie, Alberta, where he was immediately placed under arrest.

Ludwig is well known in Alberta for his opposition to the oil and gas industry. He was sent to prison in 2001 and served two-thirds of a 28-month sentence for his role in earlier gas well bombings in Alberta.

Police previously had said they did not consider Ludwig a suspect in the latest pipeline bombings.

Moreau said Ludwig believed he had been summoned to Friday’s meeting to offer assistance to police in their investigation.

Police called the arrest and search of the farm a “significant development” in their investigation into the pipeline bombings.

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