This sounds like good news. The Department of Justice has issued a press release announcing the arrest and indictments of six people busted on federal charges of arson and property destruction:
U.S. Department of Justice
Karin J. Immergut
United States Attorney
District of Oregon
1000 SW Third Avenue, Ste. 600
Portland, OR 97204-2902
Fax: (503) 727-1117
December 8, 2005
Six Arrested on Federal Arson and Property Destruction Indictments
PORTLAND, OREGON -- Karin J. Immergut, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, John McKay, United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Robert Jordan, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Portland, Oregon, and Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Seattle, Washington, announced today the arrests of six persons on federal indictments in connection with four separate arsons and destruction of an energy facility in the northwest dating back to 1998.
STANISLAS GREGORY MEYERHOFF, age 28, was arrested in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was attending Piedmont Community College, on an Oregon federal indictment charging him with commission of the arsons at the Superior Lumber Company, 2695 Glendale Valley Road, Glendale, Oregon, on January 2, 2001, and Jefferson Poplar Farms, 79114 Collins Road, Clatskanie, Oregon, on May 21, 2001. The damages in both the Superior Lumber Company fire and the Jefferson Poplar Farms fire each exceeded $1 million.
Also charged for the same arsons was DANIEL GERARD MCGOWAN, age 31. MCGOWAN was arrested in New York City, New York, where he resides. MEYERHOFF and MCGOWAN face maximum penalties of life imprisonment for these charges. In addition, MEYERHOFF is separately indicted for destruction of a Bonneville Power Administration electrical transmission tower on December 30, 1999, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment.
KEVIN M. TUBBS, age 36, was arrested in Springfield, Oregon, where he currently lives, on a State of Washington federal indictment charging him with commission of the arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Services (APHIS) facility in Olympia, Washington, on June 21, 1998. The damage caused by this arson was estimated at $1.2 million.
Also arrested and charged for the same arson was WILLIAM C. RODGERS, age 40, a resident of Prescott, Arizona. Both TUBBS and RODGERS face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for this arson.
SARAH KENDALL HARVEY, age 28, was arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she was a student at Northern Arizona University, on an Oregon federal indictment charging her with the arson at U. S. Forest Industries, 2611 Whittle Avenue, Medford, Oregon, on December 27, 1998. The U.S. Forest Industries fire caused an estimated $500,000 in damages. HARVEY faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
CHELSEA DAWN GERLACH, age 28, was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on an Oregon federal indictment charging her with destruction of an energy facility, relating to the destruction of a Bonneville Power Administration electrical transmission tower in Bend, Oregon on December 30, 1999. GERLACH faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.
These indictments and arrests were the results of a nine-year long investigation of numerous arsons in the northwest and other states, for many of which responsibility was claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) movements. The investigation is continuing.
Participating in this extensive investigation were the Joint Terrorism Taskforce, assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Eugene Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau, the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Lane County Sheriffs Office. The Joint Terrorism Taskforce is an FBI led taskforce of state, local and federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Defense Criminal Investigative Agency, Federal Protective Services, Oregon State Police, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Beaverton Police Department, Port of Portland Police Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Multnomah Couthy Sheriffs Office, Washington County Sheriffs Office, and the Vancouver Police Department.
A criminal indictment is only an allegation and not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
For further information, contact Criminal Division Chief Kent Robinson at 503-727-1019.
It sounds like the feds had this in the works for quite a time, and it sounds like it was quite an extensive operation (or operations).
This should put a chill into the hearts of others, not yet caught, who must live with the fear that their time, too, might come, even long after the event.
As the release says . . . "The Investigation is continuing."
These arrests obviously came out of the blue, after a lengthy period of time during which the 6 apparently went back to a fairly normal, above-ground life, evidently secure in their belief that they had weathered the storm. You have to wonder if they got just a little careless, and committed anything incriminating about themselves or others to the safe-keeping of their computers.
Thanks to Rob M for the note that prompted my thoughts.
UPDATE: 12/9/05, 9:45 AM PST. Related story here, in which Rodney Cornado presents his opinion:
Rod Coronado of Tucson, who described himself as an unofficial spokesperson for the ELF and the related Animal Liberation Front, said he could not comment on the specific charges faced by the six, but said he thought federal authorities were "grasping at straws."
This is known as a "non-comment comment."
"This is the government prioritizing what it believes is something important to corporations and industry who have political friends," said Coronado, who is under a federal indictment in Arizona on charges of conspiracy to stop a mountain lion hunt.
Coronado said in a telephone interview that many ELF followers believed that "environmental destruction is preventable only through such direct action."