Four Indicted In Wild Horse Corral Arson

By: AP
By: AP

Four people were indicted on federal arson charges Thursday in the 2001 firebombing of a federal corral near Susanville, Calif., that housed wild horses and burros rounded up from public rangeland.
Three of the four suspects in the firebombing at the Bureau of
Land Management facility about 80 miles northwest of Reno already
have been indicted on federal charges mostly in Oregon in
connection with a string of cases of alleged eco-terrorism across
several Western states.
One of them, Canadian Darren Thurston, 36, remains in custody in
Oregon. Two others previously indicted, Rebecca Rubin, 32, and
Joseph Dibee, 38, are listed as fugitives, as is the fourth suspect
named for the first time in Thursday's indictment, Justin Solondz,
26.
U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and FBI Special Agent Drew
Parenti announced the new three-count indictment on Thursday in
Sacramento charging the four with conspiracy to commit arson, arson
of a government building and use of a destructive device during and
in relation to a crime of violence.
They said the charges were the product of an extensive
investigation by the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force.
"Those who would commit acts of terror, such as arson, in the
name of the Earth Liberation Front, and the Animal Liberation Front
should be on notice: federal law enforcement will do everything in
its capacity to track you down and hold you accountable for your
dangerous behavior," Scott said in a statement issued by his
office in Sacramento.
"Today's indictments of these four eco-terrorists bring to 11
the total number of ELF or ELF-ALF related defendants charged in
three separate cases brought by this office over the past year."
Dibee is among three suspects earlier charged with torching the
Cavel West horse slaughterhouse in Redmond, Ore., in July 1997.
Rubin, also a fugitive, is among three suspects charged in an arson
fire at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Ore., in December 1998.
Four firebombs had been rigged to ignite at the BLM's Litchfield
corral along U.S. Highway 395 about 20 miles northeast of
Susanville, Calif., but only one went off, destroying the
hay-filled barn on Oct. 16, 2001. A military bomb squad disarmed
the others. No one was injured.
About two weeks after the firebombing, a spokesman for the
Animal Liberation Front said that another group, the Earth
Liberation Front, appeared to be taking credit for the attack as a
form of protest against the federal roundup of wild horses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Steven Lapham, who is prosecuting the
case, said Thursday that in addition to the bomb that went off a
second device was located in the hay barn adjacent to the one that
burned.
A third device was located on the front porch of the BLM office,
and a fourth was under the car of a BLM horse wrangler.
"Although this incident occurred more than 4 years ago, the FBI
and its JTTF partners continued to investigate these acts of
extremism, and are pleased charges have been filed against those
responsible," Parenti said Thursday.
If convicted, the penalties under federal law for conspiracy to
commit arson and arson are 20 years maximum, a mandatory minimum of
five years in prison, and a three-year term of supervised release.
The penalty for use of a destructive device during a crime of
violence is 30 years to be served consecutively to the underlying
crime, and a five-year term of supervised release.


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