By Jana Winter
The FBI’s decade-long hunt for a suspected environmental terrorist believed to have bombed two buildings in California has narrowed to Honolulu, where authorities are aggressively advertising a $250,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
Daniel Andreas San Diego, 36, a Berkeley, Calif.,-born hard-core vegan and self-styled “animal liberationist,” is believed to have headed a domestic terror cell that bombed a California biotech corporation in August 2003, then set off a nail bomb a month later at a nutritional products corporation in the state.
“It’s important to recognize that this guy is considered armed and dangerous.”
– FBI Special Agent Tom Simon
“He may or may not actually be on Hawaii Island, but we are taking this lead seriously out of genuine concern for local residents,” said Honolulu FBI Special Agent Tom Simon. “It’s important to recognize that this guy is considered armed and dangerous. If you know where he is, please just call it in. We don’t want anyone getting hurt trying to be a hero.”
In 2009, San Diego became the first alleged domestic terrorist to make the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List. Since that time, the FBI has received tips placing him throughout California and as far east as Northampton, Mass. He also has ties to Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Costa Rica and Bolivia.
The bombs San Diego is alleged to have set did not kill or injure anyone, but authorities believe that was only by luck. On Aug. 28, 2003, two homemade explosives described at the time as “sophisticated,” exploded one hour apart, at Chiron Corp., in Emeryville. FBI officials believe the second bomb was timed to kill or injure responders. A third bomb was set off on Sept. 26, 2003, at the Shaklee Corp., in Pleasantville. That bomb was powered by ammonium nitrate and was wrapped in nails.
In both incidents, a group called the Animal Liberation Brigade sent emails to authorities claiming credit. Investigators believe the two targets were chosen because both were clients of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a U.K.-based biotechnology company that animal rights activists have long accused of abusing animals in its research.
San Diego disappeared a week after the September bombings, even as authorities had him under 24-hour surveillance in San Francisco. He was later profiled several times on the television crimefighting show, “America’s Most Wanted.”
While San Diego has a distinctive tattoo on his chest that shows a round image of burning hillsides with the words “It only takes a spark,” and tattoos of burning and collapsing buildings on the sides of his abdomen and back, it is his behavior that could give him away. At the time of his disappearance, he ate neither meat nor any food containing animal products. The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit believes if he has maintained this discipline, people around him may notice that he avoids consuming or wearing anything made with animal products.
A wanted poster distributed by the FBI tells more about San Diego.
“He is also known to cook and bake vegan and vegetarian foods and has an interest in sailing,” the poster states. “In the past, he has worked as a computer network specialist and with the operating system LINUX. He may be using these skills as a form of income, specifically for cash to avoid using banks, checks and credit cards.”