Records: Suspect in eco-arson case to plead guilty

rebecca_rubin2By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A woman who surrendered after a decade as a fugitive in the nation’s largest eco-terrorism case is expected 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.

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, wild horse corrals in Oregon and Northern 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 trying to set fire to a lumber mill office in Medford, Ore.

Ten people pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson charges 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.