A man from New Westminster, B.C., accused of trying to blow up the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, could face 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to a terrorism charge in a U.S. court Thursday.
Alfred Reumayr, 58, planned to use 14 bombs to damage the pipeline on New Year's Day 2000, then profit when the price of oil went up.
Reumayr pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting terrorism transcending national boundaries at the U.S. District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Officials have said Reumayr planned to purchase oil futures before detonating the bombs, and then sell his shares at a huge profit when oil prices rose due to the disruption in supply.
He was arrested in British Columbia in November 1999 before he could undertake the scheme. At the time, authorities said an informant who served time with Reumayr in a U.S. prison made the arrest possible. He provided details of the plot to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Prosecutors said they had letters and e-mails sent by Reumayr to the informant, a New Mexico man who was in jail on mail fraud charges, Reuters reported.
Had it been successful, the bomb plot "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, as quoted by Reuters.
"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."
A sentencing hearing could be held this summer. Reumayr lost a bid to fight extradition in 2006 when the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed his appeal.
Constructed between 1975 and 1977, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System runs from Alaska's North Slope to the Port of Valdez in southern Alaska.
The pipeline, which runs above ground for long stretches and crosses three mountain ranges, provides the only means of transporting oil from the north shores of Alaska and cost $8 billion US to build.