Hospers, Iowa — Two women who’ve claimed responsibility for vandalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline at locations across Iowa and other states, possibly including damage done to the pipeline near Hospers, say federal agents Friday morning raided the Des Moines Catholic Worker House where they’re staying.
A spokesman for 27-year-old Ruby Montoya and 35-year-old Jessica Reznicek says about 30 agents arrived at the home before sunrise Friday. Alex Cohen, part of the “Mississippi Stand” group that sought to halt the pipeline’s extension from southeast Iowa across the river into Illinois, said the women told him that they were kept on the front porch of the house as they agents conducted the search inside.
Cohen says the women said they were denied access to the house for “hours and hours”, so they weren’t sure what was going on during that time. He relayed that the women had said they weren’t allowed to see what was being taken.
Cohen says the women consider some of the materials seized during the raids to be protected by the attorney-client privilege and, now that it’s in the hands of federal authorities, it will hurt the chances at a fair trial. On July 24, Montoya and Reznicek told reporters they were responsible for burning machinery at pipeline construction sites and destroying valves along the completed pipeline in Iowa and South Dakota, presumably including damage done to the pipeline near Hospers, which was very similar to damage the pair claimed responsibility for during their July news conference in front of the Iowa Utilities Board Headquarters Office in Des Moines.
Following that July press conference, the two women then took out crowbars, pried letters off a sign at Iowa Utilities Board headquarters and were arrested for vandalism. Cohen says the pair refuse to speak with federal authorities and are waiting to testify in court.
Both women, who remain free on bond, say they were fighting a “private corporation” and “never threatened human life nor personal property” with their actions.
Radio Iowa contributed to this story