DAPL Security Firm TigerSwan Responded to Pipeline Vandalism by Launching Multistate Dragnet

When the largest Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp in North Dakota was forcibly shut down in February, the work of TigerSwan, the private security company hired by Energy Transfer Partners to guard its property, appeared to be nearly done. Then the pipeline was hit by several acts of vandalism targeting valve sites along the route. Starting in mid-March, saboteurs snaked down the line, piercing holes in exposed parts of the pipeline and setting equipment on fire.

The vandalism, which disrupted completion of the pipeline, created new work for TigerSwan. But the company did more than deploy additional guards along the line — it also embarked on a multistate hunt for the culprits.

By early May, TigerSwan had a pair of suspects. “The best assessment based on the known facts is that the attack was most likely conducted by Iowa activists; Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya,” states an internal report dated May 4.

On July 24, Reznicek and Montoya claimed responsibility for the sabotage. Standing in front of an Iowa Utilities Board sign, the two women read a joint statement: “After having explored and exhausted all avenues of process, including attending public commentary hearings, gathering signatures for valid requests for environmental impact statements, participating in civil disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies, boycotts and encampments, we saw the clear deficiencies of our government to hear the people’s demands.”

“We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land and liberty.”

Reznicek and Montoya then turned to the utility board sign behind them, and using a crowbar and a hammer, they began to remove its letters, prompting Iowa State Patrol officers to arrest them. They were charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief for damaging the sign and released on bond two days later.

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