- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

A federal grand jury in Oregon has indicted 11 members of two extremist environmental groups on charges of arson and destruction of an energy facility in what the government said was a campaign of domestic terrorism in five Western states.

The 65-count indictment, unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., accuses the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) members of committing acts of terrorism in Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, California and Colorado from 1996 through 2001 — including conspiracy, arson, attempted arson, the use and possession of a destructive device, and destruction of an energy facility.

Eight persons were arrested before the indictment was handed up, and three are thought to be outside the United States.

“The trail of destruction left by these defendants across the Western United States caused millions of dollars in damage to public and private facilities,” Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said. “Today’s indictment proves we will not tolerate any group that terrorizes the American people, no matter its intentions or objectives.”

The indictment said the group committed arson with improvised incendiary devices made from milk jugs, petroleum products and homemade timers in a series of attacks in the five states. The targets included U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, Bureau of Land Management wild horse facilities, meat-processing companies, lumber companies, a high-tension power line and a ski facility in Colorado.

According to the indictment, Joseph Dibee, Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, Sarah Kendall Harvey, Daniel Gerard McGowan, Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff, Josephine Sunshine Overaker, Jonathan Mark Christopher Paul, Rebecca Rubin, Suzanne Savoie, Darren Todd Thurston and Kevin M. Tubbs conspired to commit the acts as part of a group they called “the family,” identified as members of ALF and ELF.

The indictment follows a series of arrests last month in Oregon, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III described the investigation and prevention of extremism in animal rights and environmental causes as one of the bureau’s highest domestic terrorism priorities.

“We are committed to working with our partners to disrupt and dismantle these movements, to protect our fellow citizens and to bring to justice those who commit crime and terrorism in the name of animal rights or environmental issues,” he said.

The two organizations are accused in 17 separate attacks: 12 in Oregon, 2 in Washington and one each in Wyoming, Colorado and California.

The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon and were investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Eugene Police Department, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Police, Portland Police Bureau, Oregon Department of Justice and the Lane County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office.

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