SEATTLE, WA – A second conviction was reached regarding the two far-left activists who were charged back in November of 2020 of a domestic terrorism plot where the two used “shunts” in an effort to disrupt trains on the tracks that can lead to derailments – and the trains crossing the pathways during the period contained crude oil.
The first of the two defendants pleaded guilty in July, with both now facing up to 20 years in federal prison.
Two far-left activists from Washington state associated with #antifa site @igd_news have been convicted in federal court on terrorism charges stemming from their attempt to derail trains. Ellen B. Reiche was found guilty. Samantha F. Brooks pleaded guilty. https://t.co/PgD2fGeCsI
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 13, 2021
We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on the arrests of now 28-year-old Samantha Frances Brooks and 24-year-old Ellen Brennan Reiche.
Both of them were charged on November 30th of 2020.
The Justice Department charged the two with a terrorist attack lodged against the BNSF Railway tracks near Bellingham in Whatcom County.
According to a September 9th press release from the Justice Department, Reiche was found guilty of violence against a railroad carrier after having gone to trial.
Her co-defendant, Brooks, pleaded guilty to interference with a railroad signaling system on July 9th. Both of them are facing 20 years in federal prison.
Case testimony from Reiche’s trial noted that on video surveillance, Reiche and co-defendant Brooks were seen walking on the rails at a Bellingham crossing.
Deputies from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the site where the defendants were later arrested for trespassing, and a shunt was discovered near where the deputies had originally come upon them along the tracks.
Reiche was found carrying wire, a drill with a brush head, a magnetic adhesive, and gloves in a paper bag.
The wire seemed to be the same as that utilized in prior shunting instances, as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force worked with BNSF police to investigate 41 other shunt incidents on the BNSF tracks since January 19th of 2020.
Bellingham, Washington Woman Convicted of ‘Shunt’ Attack on BNSF Railroad: Ellen Brennan Reiche of Bellingham, Washington, has been convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle of violence against a railroad carrier. https://t.co/4DOJKe4qhG
— FBI Seattle (@FBISeattle) September 9, 2021
The railroad crossing guard at Cliffside Drive in Bellingham could have been dangerously disrupted by the shunt that was placed on the rails. Not after the two were discovered by deputies, a train carrying crude oil and other cargo was scheduled to pass through the tracks they’d placed the shunts on.
Shunts being used to disrupt trains caused a decoupling incident on October 11th, 2020, where authorities found multiple shunts placed in three different areas in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. While not directly being tied to these two defendants, it showcased how detrimental shunts can be to trains on the tracks.
Not to mention, roughly a month after these two were arrested, a BNSF train derailed and caught fire north of Bellingham, Washington. We at Law Enforcement Today also reported on that incident, and officials later found that the derailing was linked to terroristic sabotage.
According to the Justice Department, Reiche’s two day trial only required three hours of jury deliberation before a guilty verdict was returned. Brooks, as mentioned earlier, avoided going to trial to instead plead out to a lower charge in July – but one that still carries up to 20 years in federal prison.
It was noted that the judge in Brooks’ case will determine an “appropriate sentence” that might not reflect the full 20 years she potentially faces.
Brooks will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Martinez on October 8th, 2021. Reiche will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on December 17th, 2021.
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As mentioned earlier, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report of Brooks and Reiche’s arrests last year, while also highlighting how their efforts seemed to be part of a broader network of terrorists operating under the guise of activism.
Here’s that previous report.
SEATTLE, WA – Federal charges have been brought against two individuals for allegedly trying to compromise train tracks near Bellingham in Whatcom County by placing “shunts” onto the tracks.
These “shunts” are said to have the capacity to disrupt “the low level electrical current on the tracks and can disable various safety features,” which can result in a domino effect up to even derailments.
DOJ: WA State Pair charged with interfering with safety on railroad tracks
A claim of responsibility was published on an anarchist website https://t.co/84n1VoTpgr
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 2, 2020
And according to a report from the Post Millennial, one of the accused is even a former Washington State Democrats deputy field organizer.
The Department of Justice announced the charges against 27-year-old Samantha Frances Brooks and 23-year-old Ellen Brennan Reiche on November 30th, with both being charged with terrorist attack on a railroad facility.
U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran had been the one to announce the charges against the two, making mention on how railroads have become a target as of late with regard to terrorist attacks:
“Since January there have been 41 incidents of shunts placed on the BNSF tracks in Whatcom and Skagit counties—causing crossing guards to malfunction, interfering with automatic braking systems, and, in one case, causing the near-derailment of tanks of hazardous chemicals.”
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been taking a closer look into instances where “shunts” have been placed on train tracks ever since they began cropping up in January.
According to the DOJ, a “shunt” is composed of and accomplishes the following:
“The shunt is comprised of wire and magnets that are stretched between the tracks, disrupting the systems that indicate a train is on the tracks.”
Ten out of the 41 incidents recorded so far saw these “shunts” strategically placed “in areas that disrupt the crossing guards where the tracks cross streets,” which the DOJ noted could result in unsuspecting vehicle operators being struck by trains when crossing over tracks.
One of the most near-catastrophic incident was said to have occurred on October 11th, when numerous “shunts” were placed in three different locations in Whatcom and Skagit Counties.
What said “shunts” triggered was the automatic braking system on the train that was transporting hazardous and combustible material. A portion of the train wound up decoupling, which when that transpires, can result in a derailment.
While luckily a derailment did not happen that evening in October, it could have resulted in “tanker cars of flammable gas,” toppling through a residential area.
The DOJ report noted that an “anarchist website” had even published “a claim of responsibility” following the January 19th incident. Turns out that website is none other than “It’s Going Down” – a popular website used to spread the ideology of Antifa enthusiasts.
According to the post shared online by the website on January 22nd, the website noted that “The Following Communique Was Sent To It’s Going Down Anonymously, Which We Reprint Below,” in an effort to absolve them from sharing literal instructions on committing acts of terrorism against the BNSF railroad tracks.
— Deborah Wiggins (@TheWigginsLane) January 30, 2020
The post shared by ITG, from the perspective of the anonymous author, explained in great detail how they were able to “interrupt” the supply chain from Washington to Canada by describing a method employed that only “shunts” could pull off:
“[W]e disrupted the high volume railway that moves resources from the active ports of Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, and further south to the Blaine border crossing into Canada. We were able to interrupt the track circuit used to detect the presence or absence of a train on the tracks.”
“With high resolution maps, Google Street view, good scouting, and a little flexibility, this tactic is fast and discreet. On a single rail track with a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system, this simple action can generate enough confusion in the system to cause big slow downs and bureaucratic delays.”
“You should do this too.”
Well, according to the DOJ, it seems Brooks and Reiche took a page right out of that call to action on November 28th.
BREAKING: Washington state Democrat staffer among two charged over ANTIFA train attackhttps://t.co/fesovV3RMk
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 2, 2020
BNSF Police were said to have observed via video surveillance two people kneeling on the tracks near a crossing in Bellingham. When Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies caught up with the suspects at the scene, they’d happened upon Brooks and Reiche.
A “shunt” was reportedly found applied to the tracks where the suspects were observed on camera and the two suspects were in possession of a bag containing wire, a drill with a brush head attached and some rubber gloves.
The DOJ report noted that the wire seized from the suspects happened to be of the same ilk sued in other incidents involving “shunts”.
— Leslie Mack (@lesliemack) December 6, 2020
In a reportedly now-deleted LinkedIn profile, Reiche happened to be the deputy field organizer for Washington State Democrats.
Both of the accused were said to have made their first appearance in federal on November 30th and the next court appearance is slated for December 14th. The duo could face up to 20 years in federal prison, but have surprisingly been afforded pre-trial release.
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