LOS ANGELES — A Canadian women wanted over the “largest eco-terrorism case” in US history surrendered Thursday, after a decade on the run for a series of arson attacks starting in the 1990s, investigators said.
Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, handed herself in to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the Canada-US border at Blaine, Washington state, the FBI said in a statement.
She is charged with conspiring with 12 other people to commit 20 arson attacks over five years, from 1996-2001 in Oregon and five other western US states, said the FBI’s Oregon office.
The attacks constitute America’s biggest eco-terrorism case, it said, adding that the conspirators were self-proclaimed members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
“Rubin’s arrest marks the end of her decade-long period as an international fugitive in the largest eco-terrorism case in United States history,” it said. She will appear in court in Seattle, before being held in custody in Oregon.
The conspirators “sought to influence and affect the conduct of government, private business, and the civilian population through force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation, and coercion,” it said.
They also sought to “retaliate against government and private businesses by similar means,” it added.
The alleged attacks in Oregon included a November 30, 1997 arson at the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Facility and a December 22, 1998 attempted arson at a US Forest Industries office.
In Colorado, she is charged with eight counts of arson over fires on October 19, 1998 that destroyed buildings in the Vail ski area.
In California, she is charged with conspiracy, arson, and using a destructive device in the October 15, 2001 fire at a BLM wild horse corral center.
The arson charges carry jail terms of up to 20 years in jail, and use of a destructive device linked to a violent crime carries a mandatory sentence of 30 years in prison.
The ELF, made up of numerous autonomous cells around the world, targeted ski resorts, timber companies, sellers of sport utility vehicles and others to draw attention to the environment, while avoiding harm to humans or animals.
The public perception of the ELF changed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, which prompted federal officials to call the group “domestic terrorists.”