PHOENIX (Reuters) - A Canadian man charged with plotting to blow up the Trans-Alaskan oil pipeline on New Year’s Day 2000 pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge on Thursday.
Alfred Reumayr, 58, of British Columbia, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting terrorism transcending national boundaries, at the U.S. District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Reumayr was arrested in August 1999 in a joint operation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
They accused him of soliciting the help of a U.S. citizen to bomb the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
Prosecutors said Reumayr acquired explosives and sought to plant 14 time bombs at three points along the pipeline in an attempt to disrupt energy supplies over the Millennium.
“Today’s guilty plea is the final resolution to a 10-year-long joint ... investigation ... which if successful would have had an enormous negative economic and environmental impact on the United States and Canada,” said William Newell, the ATF agent in charge in Phoenix.
“Make no mistake about it, this was a very serious threat that was thwarted by the tremendous investigative work and dedication of ATF and RCMP law enforcement personnel,” he added.
Prosecutors said Reumayr planned to buy energy securities at low prices before the attack, and hoped to profit by selling them at a higher price amid market turmoil afterward.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System runs north south almost 800 miles (1,300-km) from the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay to the Gulf of Alaska at Valdez.
A successful attack would have caused oil shortages in California and other Western states, driving up oil and gas prices, ATF said.
The prosecution’s case against Reumayr included letters and e-mails to a New Mexico man with whom he had served time in jail on mail fraud charges, who became an informant in the case.
Reporting by Tim Gaynor, editing by Doina Chiacu