A longtime spokesperson for the most active extremist environmental and animal rights movements in the U.S. has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for demonstrating how to build an incendiary device.
Rodney Coronado, who was sentenced on March 27, 2008, pleaded guilty to demonstrating how to make a crude incendiary device during an August 2003 talk at a community center in Hillcrest, California. Coronado explained to the audience how to build the device using a plastic jug, gasoline and oil.
The talk was held several hours after the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) burned down a housing complex under construction in San Diego. The blaze, which officials estimate caused around $50 million in damage, destroyed a five-story building and brought down a 100-foot-high crane.
Coronado was charged under a 1999 antiterrorism statute that prohibits "teaching and demonstrating" an explosive device with the intent of its use to commit a violent crime.
During his sentencing, Coronado expressed some regret over his past actions, telling the U.S. District Judge, "I have said and done things in my past which I regret." He also stated that he had cut ties to radical environmental and animal rights groups, and looked forward to moving on once his sentence is completed: "My life, I see going in a completely different direction." Coronado made a similar statement in a 2007 interview, saying, "I don't believe anymore in illegal direct action."
Coronado previously served eight months in prison for conspiracy to impede or injure an officer, following a 2004 attempt to disrupt an Arizona Game and Fish Department mountain lion hunt in Sabino Canyon near Tucson. He also served over three years in prison for his role in a 1992 firebombing of an animal research laboratory at Michigan State University (MSU) that caused $2.5 million in damages (In March 2008, four people were indicted in connection with a second fire at MSU in 1999 that was claimed by ELF and caused more than $1 million in damages).
Upon his release from prison, Coronado will be prohibited from associating with radical groups that advocate violence as a means of activism, such as Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF).