Six Plead Guilty In Oregon to Five-Year Ecoterror Spree
Posted: July 28, 2006
Six members of the two most active ecoterrorist movements in the United States have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Oregon, to conspiracy and arson charges related to a series of attacks in five sates.
Calling themselves “The Family,” more than a dozen suspects targeted U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, Bureau of Land Management wild horse facilities, meat processing companies, lumber companies and a high-tension power line among other targets in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming between 1996 and 2001, according to the Justice Department.
Kevin Tubbs, Kendall Tankersley and Darren Todd Thurston pleaded guilty on July 20, 2006. The following day, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Chelsea Gerlach and Suzanne Savoie entered their guilty pleas. All six pleaded guilty to individual attacks as well as to their involvement in an overall conspiracy involving the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. Each of the defendants also agreed to cooperate with the government in the investigation and prosecution of other co-conspirators.
Gerlach and Meyerhoff are also expected to plead guilty to arson charges stemming from their roles in the 1998 firebombing at a Vail ski resort that caused an estimated $12 million in damage; it was the costliest act of ecoterrorism in American history at the time.
In her statement in court, Gerlach said the acts were “motivated by a deep sense of despair and anger at the deteriorating state of the global environment and the escalating inequities within society…I have taken responsibility for what I have done and will make amends by being a voice for peace in an increasingly hostile and polarized world.”
Starting in 2000, the suspects met in Oregon, Arizona and California for what they called “Book Club” meetings to practice making firebombs and plan for attacks, according to court documents. The bombs they made were 5-gallon buckets filled with fuel and set off with kitchen timers, matches, sponges and model rocket igniters. During the arsons, they often wore dark clothing, gloves and masks, which they would then destroy, according to court records.
During the investigation, authorities used an informant and former cell member, who gave investigators accounts of many of the crimes and also secretly tape-recorded some of the defendants.
Sentencing for all six is scheduled for December 14 in federal court in Eugene. Four other defendants, Jonathan Paul, Daniel McGowan, Nathan Fraser Block and Joyanna Zacher, are scheduled to face trial in October. Three others, Joseph Dibee, Josephine Overaker and Rebecca Rubin, are considered to be fugitives.
Related News:Zachary Jenson, a 20-year-old Seattle man involved in an alleged eco-terrorist plot to destroy government buildings and banks, pleaded guilty on July 18, 2006 to one count of conspiracy in a Sacramento federal court. Jenson was arrested in January along with Eric Taylor McDavid and Lauren Weiner, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy in May. The three allegedly plotted to destroy federal property, cell phone towers and power generation facilities in the name of ELF.