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Ludwig arrested in Encana bombings

Wiebo Ludwig's lawyer says the convicted pipeline bomber has been arrested and will be charged with extortion after a series of bombings in British Columbia.

Paul Moreau said Ludwig is accused of extorting the oil and gas company that was the target of the bombings, Encana, but he's not sure what is behind the charge and has not seen the evidence against his client.

"Extortion, by it's nature, is an offence where the accused is trying to get something from the victim or cause the victim to do something," Moreau said in Edmonton Friday.

"I wasn't aware that Rev. Ludwig was trying to get Encana to give him anything or to do anything, so I don't know what the basis of the charge is."

Dozens of RCMP swept onto Ludwig's farm in northwestern Alberta near the B.C. boundary Friday morning and began a search.

There have been six pipeline bombings targeting Calgary-based Encana in the Tomslake area since October 2008.

The search represents a dramatic turn in the investigation.

Ludwig is well known in Alberta, having been convicted for two gas well bombings in the province in the late 1990s. Two EnCana gas wells and one owned by Suncor Inc. were hit in 1998, and another blast cratered a road leading to a Norcen Energy well site.

Ludwig, who has a theology doctorate from an American university, served two-thirds of a 28-month sentence for the earlier bombings. He actually wrote an open letter to the Tomslake bomber last fall appealing for peace.

"Certainly Rev. Ludwig was surprised and taken aback," Moreau said.

"I find it surprising given what little I know about the situation. My understanding was Rev. Ludwig had been attempting to assist the RCMP to try and resolve the concerns that were arising out of the events of Tomslake."

An anonymous letter sent to local news media last year called EnCana a terrorist and demanded that the company stop operating in the region. Another letter sent to the Dawson Creek Daily News in July warned that things "could get a lot worse" if the company did not quit.

Encana had offered a $1-million reward leading to the conviction of anyone involved.

The B.C. government announced new guidelines for the industry last September aimed at resolving community concerns.

Reported by The Canadian Press.

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