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RCMP find DNA on letter in pipeline bombing investigation

A segment of an EnCana pipeline near Pouce Coupe, B.C.

The RCMP have found traces of DNA on a letter sent to a Dawson Creek newspaper in April that may be related to a string of bomb attacks on pipelines in the region.

Police had earlier said they would test the letter, which was sent to the Dawson Creek Daily News and turned over to the RCMP.

"We haven't made a conclusive judgment that this last letter is written by the author of the previous two - or that it's in any way related to the Encana pipeline bombings. But obviously there are similarities and suspicions to that effect," Staff Sergeant Darren Traichevich of the Dawson Creek RCMP said on Thursday.

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The letter was sent this past April to the newspaper, which had previously received two threatening letters that referred to booming natural gas activity in the region and arrived around the same time as a string of bomb attacks against pipelines in the area.

The letter included the phrases, "Time-out is over!!" and "The long and 'hot' summer is coming."

It also said, "We are growing in strength and now ready for actions at all your installations."

Between Oct. 11, 2008, and July 4, 2009, six explosions were reported around pipeline sites and other natural gas infrastructure in the Dawson Creek region. Some incidents resulted in people having to be evacuated from their homes, but there have been no injuries.

The Dawson Creek Daily News received threatening letters around the time of those attacks.

A July, 2009 letter, sent to the newspaper and addressed simply to "Encana," said attacks against the company would stop for three months to give it a chance to leave the area.

"We can all take a summer vacation including your security personnel and the RCMP who have not helped you to date anyway," the letter said, adding that the six explosions that have occurred so far have been minor and controlled to make the point that "you are indeed vulnerable, [and]can be rendered helpless."

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The first letter, ordering Encana to leave the region, was sent to local newspapers in October, days before the first blast occurred.

Police believe the two hand-printed letters were drafted by the same person. The first was sent from Dawson Creek; the second from Spirit River, Alta., which is located 95 kilometres to the east.

The attacks triggered a major police investigation and put residents on edge. Pipelines in the area carry potentially lethal sour gas. All of the attacks targeted assets and equipment owned by Calgary-based Encana, one of the most active and visible companies in the area.

Encana put up a $1-million reward in connection with the investigation.

The Dawson Creek attacks brought back memories of attacks in the Alberta oil patch in the 1990s and turned public attention to Alberta resident Wiebo Ludwig, who spent time in jail for his role in oil patch incidents. In October, 2008, the RCMP ruled out Mr. Ludwig as a suspect.

But in January this year, the RCMP swooped down on Mr. Ludwig's family compound near Hythe, Alta. to conduct a search. Mr. Ludwig was arrested and released after being questioned by police.

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A list of items obtained during the search of Mr. Ludwig's property included books, ammunition, wire and newspaper articles. Police also obtained Mr. Ludwig's DNA.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More

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