King 5, “Bellingham woman pleads guilty to terrorist attack on railway”

Multiple incidents along the railroad tracks in Whatcom and Skagit counties have lead to federal indictments and unanswered questions.

Steve Soliz, August 4, 2021

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — A Bellingham woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to a terrorist attack and violence against Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway in northwestern Washington. 

Samantha Brooks and Ellen Reiche were each indicted with one count of terrorist attacks and other violence against a railroad for allegedly placing a shunt on tracks near Bellingham in November 2020. The devices have the capability to disrupt BNSF train safety features. Brooks pleaded guilty, while Reiche pleaded not guilty.

“Knowingly impairing the operation of a rail signal is a federal crime,” explained Steve Bernd, a spokesperson in the Seattle office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). “It’s considered a terrorist attack or an act of violence against a railway.”

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