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MailTribune.com
  • Eco-terror suspect will plead guilty

    Rebecca Rubin among ELF members blamed for $40 million in damage, including Medford fire
  • A woman who surrendered after a decade as a fugitive in the nation's largest eco-terrorism case is to enter guilty pleas on Oct. 10, court records show.
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  • A woman who surrendered after a decade as a fugitive in the nation's largest eco-terrorism case is to enter guilty pleas on Oct. 10, court records show.
    Rebecca Rubin, 39, was accused in a federal indictment of being a member of cells of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front known as The Family.
    Investigators blame the Eugene group for 20 fires across the West from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million in damage. Among the casualties of those fires was a Medford timber company office.
    The documents say Rubin will be in U.S. District Court in Portland to change her previous not guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy and arson.
    She has been in custody since surrendering in November to the FBI at the Canadian border with Washington state. At the time, her lawyer said she wanted to get the case behind her.
    The cells are suspected in fires at a ski resort in Colorado, horse corrals in Oregon and California, and lumber mills and U.S. Forest Service offices in Oregon.
    Rubin was charged with helping set fire to buildings at a Vail, Colo., resort to prevent expansion into habitat for the threatened Canada lynx, and to U.S. Bureau of Land Management corrals in Eastern Oregon and Northern California holding wild horses rounded up from federal rangelands.
    She also is accused of an arson fire at a lumber mill office in Medford around Christmas in 1998. Court documents alleged she and two other accused eco-terrorists allegedly botched their first attempt to firebomb the U.S. Forest Industries office in Medford on Dec. 22, then returned five days later to complete the job.
    The second time, the Earth Liberation Front members allegedly placed time-delayed incendiary devices at the Whittle Avenue office; the resulting fire caused about $500,000 in damage.
    On Jan. 16, 1999, the ELF claimed responsibility for the arson in a letter cursing company President Jerry Bramwell and warning about future acts of violence.
    "This action is payback and it is a warning to all others responsible," the letter stated. "We do not sleep and we won't quit. For the future generations, we will fight back."
    U.S. Forest Industries settled with its insurance company and relocated in Medford before dissolving.
    Ten people pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson charges related to several of the crimes and were sentenced to prison. Two others indicted in the case remain at large.
    Rubin was not specifically charged with terrorism, but the indictment alleges she and other members of The Family tried to influence businesses and the government and attempted to retaliate against the government.
    At the time of the fires, the FBI characterized the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front as the top domestic terrorism threats in the nation.
    Attorneys Richard J. Troberman and Ronald H. Hoevet, who represent Rubin, did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.
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