Canadian arrested in pipeline bombing case released

Sat Jan 9, 2010 4:06pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian man convicted of sabotage a decade ago was released without charges on Saturday after his arrest in connection with a recent string of bombings at gas pipelines in British Columbia.

Wiebo Ludwig, an energy industry critic from Hythe, Alberta, was arrested on Friday on a charge of attempted extortion in connection with six attacks on EnCana Corp pipelines and natural gas equipment near Dawson Creek, British Columbia.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said a 68-year-old man was released but their search for evidence at a sprawling farm in Hythe, a rural community located about 16 miles from the British Columbia border, was still under way.

The RCMP statement did not specifically identify the released man as Ludwig, but his lawyer, Paul Moreau, told the Globe and Mail newspaper that his client had left police custody in Grand Prairie, Alberta, on Saturday morning.

Moreau could not be reached immediately for comment.

"Currently no charges have been laid against the man," the RCMP statement said. It added that discussions continue with prosecutors "to determine what charges, if any, could apply."

The British Columbia attacks, which have caused damage but no injuries, are believed to be linked to two anonymous handwritten letters sent to the media that warned EnCana to pull its natural gas operations out of the Dawson Creek area.

The letters, one before the first attack in October 2008, and the other in July shortly after the last attack, complained about the dangers of drilling for sour gas in the area.

Police said the investigation was "far from over" and a C$1 million ($970,000) reward posted by EnCana for information about who was responsible for the attacks has not been claimed.   Continued...