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Alleged Canadian eco-terrorist surrenders at US-Canada border

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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International fugitive and alleged eco-terrorist Rebecca Jeanette Rubin turned herself in on the U.S.-Canada border after a decade on the run, in what authorities are calling the largest eco-terrorism case in U.S. history.

Rubin was charged with being part of a conspiracy with 12 other people involving 20 acts of arson throughout five Western states in a five-year period, according to the FBI.

The acts were committed by self-proclaimed members of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Specifically, Rubin is accused of being part of a cell known as the Family, which operated out of Eugene, Oregon.

“According to the indictment, the group sought to influence and affect the conduct of government, private business, and the civilian population through force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation, and coercion, and to retaliate against government and private businesses by similar means,” according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The LA Times reported that the Family disbanded in 2001, but federal investigators found an informant and broke the case in 2005. The Family’s members reportedly took oaths of secrecy and commitment to one another.

In their attacks, the group used firebombs and conducted coordinated attacks on targets, including a Vail, Colorado ski resort, an Oregon SUV dealership, and federal wild horse corrals in Oregon and California.

In Oregon, Rubin stands accused of participating in the November 30, 1997 arson of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Facility near Burns, and the December 22, 1998 attempted arson at the U.S. Forest Industries Inc. offices in Medford.

In Colorado, Rubin is charged with eight counts of arson in the October 19, 1998 fires that destroyed buildings in the Vail ski area in Eagle County. And in California, Rubin is charged with conspiracy, arson, and using a destructive device in the October 15, 2001 fire at the BLM’s Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville, California.

The group is estimated to have caused between $23 million and $40 million in total damage.

The Family’s leader, William C. Rodgers — who ran a bookstore in Arizona — killed himself after being arrested.

According to the FBI, each count of arson and attempted arson carries a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence, with a maximum of up to 20 years. Using a destructive device in relation to a violent crime earns a mandatory consecutive prison sentence of 30 years, and conspiracy earns a maximum prison sentence of five years.

“Each count in the three indictments carries a potential fine of up to $250,000,” according to the FBI.

In 2007, ten other defendants in the case received prison terms, ranging up to six years, after pleading guilty in Oregon.

Rubin is the 11th person in the case to face trial, but two others — Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker — are still at large.

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