Who is Samantha Brooks and Ellen Reiche? Samantha Brooks and Ellen Reiche Bio/Wiki
After they allegedly interfered with the safety features of the railroad last weekend by placing a shunt on the tracks near Bellingham, two Bellingham women were charged with a terrorist assault and abuse against the BNSF Railway Company.
On Sunday, Nov. 29, Samantha Frances Brooks, 27, and Ellen Brennan Reiche, 23, were booked into the Whatcom County Jail, each on suspicion of malicious railroad property damage and second-degree criminal interference.
Jail records show both were transferred on Monday, Nov. 30, into federal custody.
Samantha Brooks is 27 years old and Ellen Reiche is 23 years old.
On Monday, Brooks and Reiche appeared in federal court in Seattle, accused of a terrorist attack and other abuse against a railroad carrier, according to a U.S. Release from the Department of Justice.
A shunt is an item that disrupts the low-level electrical current on railroad tracks and disables different safety features and according to the release, may cause derailment, decoupling, or failure of gates at crossings, threatening the public.
Wire and magnets spread between the track are made up of shunts so that they can interrupt structures that will usually indicate when a train is on the tracks.
Terrorist Attack Details
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has been investigating the location of shunts on the BNSF tracks since January 19, 2020, according to the criminal complaint.
Thay said, “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,”
Brooks and Reiche had, based on the release, a paper bag containing wire, a drill with a brush head, and rubber gloves, and the wire was identical to that used in other remaining shunts.
The railroad crossing signal at Cliffside Drive south of Bellingham International Airport, the release states, may have interfered with the shunt that Brooks and Reiche put on the tracks.
According to the release, convictions for terrorist attacks on railway facilities could hold up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 dossier.
Opponents argue that in British Columbia, the 416-mile Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project would exacerbate environmental degradation and threaten the rights of First Nations citizens. The message claiming responsibility for the shunts said the purpose was to prevent supplies from reaching the border between the United States and Canada.
According to the criminal complaint, since Jan. 19, 2020, the FBI Terrorism Task Force has been investigating shunts being put on BNSF tracks in the region.
The release said that a claim of responsibility was published on an anarchist website shortly after the first shunts were discovered in January.
BNSF police viewed video footage of two individuals kneeling on tracks near the Bellingham crossing on Saturday, Nov. 28, according to the statement. Deputies from the Whatcom County Sheriff replied and arrested Brooks and Reiche for trespassing.
Samantha Brooks Education
Ellen Reiche serves as a mentor for Wild Whatcom, which engages children and their families in year-round nature programs, according to her LinkedIn website.
She has also served as a naturalist for Anacortes Washington Outer Island Excursions, as a ski instructor for Mt. Baker Ski Area in Bellingham, as a senior park assistant at Sucia Island State Park for the State of Washington, as a dining hall worker for Aramark, as a quality control technician for Enfield Farms, as a transplanter for Wholesale Nursery Cascade Cuts, and as a deputy field coordinator for Enfield Farms
She has a German bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Washington and graduated from Gig Harbor High School. She says she is qualified as a ski instructor at Alpine Level II and in adult and pediatric first aid.