Authorities: Earth Liberation Front cell member sought in fires surrenders after years on run

Published November 29, 2012

| Associated Press

One of the three remaining fugitives in a string of fires set by environmental radicals in Oregon, Colorado and California surrendered to authorities Thursday after spending years hiding out in Canada.

The U.S. attorney's office in Portland, Ore., said Thursday that Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, turned herself in to the FBI at the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash.

Rubin was part of a cell of the Earth Liberation Front known as The Family, based in Eugene, Ore., authorities said. She was sought on charges that she took part in setting fires at the Vail ski resort in Colorado, at a timber company office in Medford, Ore., and at federal wild horse corrals in Eastern Oregon and Northern California.

Ten others pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson and were sentenced to prison. Two others remain at large.

Authorities have said the Earth Liberation Front cell was responsible for 20 arsons around the West that did $40 million in damage, including the 1998 fire that destroyed a restaurant and other facilities at the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado. Other targets included a horse slaughterhouse and U.S. Forest Service ranger stations, research facilities, and an SUV dealership, all in Oregon.

The group disbanded in 2001, but a federal taskforce known as Operation Backfire turned an informant and broke open the cell in 2005. The leader, William C. Rodgers, ran a bookstore in Prescott, Ariz. He committed suicide in jail in 2005 following his arrest.

Authorities said Rubin is to appear in federal court in Seattle, then will be sent to Oregon for trial.

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