Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces Arrest and Indictment of a Canadian Man for Destruction of an Energy Facility and Illegal Firearm Possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

BISMARCK –United States Attorney Mac Schneider announced that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Cameron Monte Smith, a citizen of Canada, with 1) Destruction of an Energy Facility; 2) Possession of Firearm by an Illegal Alien; and 3) Possession of Ammunition by an Illegal Alien.

As stated in the indictment, Smith is alleged to have damaged the Wheelock Substation in an amount exceeding $100,000.00 in May of 2023. The substation, located near Ray, North Dakota, is operated by Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative and Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Smith is also alleged to have illegally possessed a .450 Bushmaster rifle and 9mm Sig Sauer pistol knowing that he was an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States.

The charge of destruction of an energy facility is punishable by a maximum imprisonment term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. The firearm offenses are each punishable by a maximum imprisonment term of 15 years and a $250,000 fine.

On July 12, 2023, Smith appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Clare R. Hochhalter for an initial appearance and arraignment where he entered a not guilty plea to these charges. Judge Hochhalter ordered that Smith be detained in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for July 17, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. A trial has been scheduled for September 12, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in Bismarck, ND.

An indictment is an accusation and notice of charges. The defendant is presumed innocent under the law unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Williams County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David D. Hagler and Jonathan J. O’Konek with the assistance of Trial Attorneys Jacob Warren and Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.



Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7458

Updated July 13, 2023