LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – Ten dreveive prison sentences for roles…

LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire –
Ten dreveive prison sentences for roles in numerous arsons, committed from 1996 through 2001, resulting in millions of dollars in damage

Eugene, Ore. – Today U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completed the last sentencing hearing in the largest eco-terrorism case in U.S. history. The conspiracy involved twenty acts of arson, spanning five years and five Western states, committed by self-proclaimed members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

The ten defendants acted in an underground cell they called “The Family.” In their previously entered guilty pleas, the defendants acknowledged they and their group sought to influence and affect the conduct of government, private business, and the civilian population through force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation and coercion, and to retaliate against government and private businesses by similar means. Total damages exceeded $40 million. The investigation involved multiple agencies of federal, state and local law enforcement and spanned over nine years.

“We are pleased with the sentences imposed by Judge Aiken,” stated U.S. Attorney Karin J. Immergut. “They are substantial sentences that reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by the defendants. This is the largest case of environmental extremists ever prosecuted in the United States. The successful investigation and prosecution resulted from the intense and dogged persistence of all the law enforcement agencies involved who worked collaboratively and cooperatively on the local, state and federal levels.”

The defendants were sentenced to the following prison terms for the charges listed:

1. Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff (age 29) – 156 months

1. October 11, 1998 – attempted arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Holding Facility near Rock Springs, Wyoming
2. October 19, 1998 – arson at the Vail Ski Facility in Eagle County, Colorado
3. May 9, 1999 – arson at Childers Meat Company, Eugene, Oregon
4. December 25, 1999 – arson at the office of the Boise Cascade Company in Monmouth, Oregon
5. December 30, l999 – destruction of a Bonneville Power Administration energy facility high-voltage tower near Bend, Oregon
6. September 6, 2000 – arson at the Eugene, Oregon, Police Department West University Public Safety Station
7. January 2, 2001 – arson at Superior Lumber Company, Glendale, Oregon
8. March 30, 2001 – arson and destruction of 35 SUVs at Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center, Eugene, Oregon
9. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon
10. October 15, 2001 – arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Facility, Litchfield, California

2. Kevin Tubbs (age 38) – 151 months

1. October 30, 1996 – arson at the U.S. Forest Service Oakridge Ranger Station near Oakridge, Oregon
2. July 2l, 1997 – arson at Cavel West, Inc. in Redmond, Oregon
3. November 30, 1997 – arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Facility near Burns, Oregon
4. October 11, 1998 – attempted arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Holding Facility near Rock Springs, Wyoming
5. December 22 and 27, 1998 – arson and attempted arson at U.S. Forest Industries, Medford, Oregon
6. May 9, 1999 – arson at Childers Meat Company, Eugene, Oregon
7. September 6, 2000 – arson at the Eugene, Oregon, Police Department West University Public Safety Station
8. January 2, 2001 – arson at Superior Lumber Company, Glendale, Oregon
9. March 30, 2001 – arson and destruction of 35 SUVs at Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center, Eugene, Oregon
10. October 15, 2001 – arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Facility, Litchfield, California

3. Chelsea Dawn Gerlach (age 30) – 108 months

1. October 11, 1998 – attempted arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Holding Facility near Rock Springs, Wyoming
2. October 19, 1998 – arson at the Vail Ski Facility in Eagle County, Colorado
3. May 9, 1999 – arson at Childers Meat Company, Eugene, Oregon
4. December 25, 1999 – arson at the office of the Boise Cascade Company in Monmouth, Oregon
5. December 30, l999 – destruction of a Bonneville Power Administration energy facility high-voltage tower near Bend, Oregon
6. September 6, 2000 – arson at the Eugene, Oregon, Police Department West University Public Safety Station
7. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon

4. Nathan Fraser Block (age 26) – 92 months

1. March 30, 2001 – arson and destruction of 35 SUVs at Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center, Eugene, Oregon
2. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon

5. Joyanna L. Zacher (age 29) – 92 months

1. March 30, 2001 – arson and destruction of 35 SUVs at Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center, Eugene, Oregon
2. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon

6. Suzanne Nichole Savoie (age 29) – 51 months

1. January 2, 2001 – arson at Superior Lumber Company, Glendale, Oregon
2. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon

7. Kendall Tankersley (age 30) – 41 months

1. December 22 and 27, 1998 – arson and attempted arson at U.S. Forest Industries, Medford, Oregon

8. Darren Todd Thurston (age 37) – 37 months

1. October 15, 2001 – arson at the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Facility, Litchfield, California

9. Jonathan Mark Christopher Paul (age 41) – 51 months

1. July 2l, 1997 – arson at Cavel West, Inc. in Redmond, Oregon

10. Daniel Gerard McGowan (age 33) – 84 months

1. January 2, 2001 – arson at Superior Lumber Company, Glendale, Oregon
2. May 21, 2001 – arson and attempted arson at the Jefferson Poplar Farm, Clatskanie, Oregon

Judge Aiken reaffirmed the Paul sentence at a hearing on August 1, 2007. Today she imposed a final sentence of 41 months in Tankersley’s case.

“If this case proves anything, it is that the FBI and its partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and in other law enforcement agencies are absolutely committed to defeating terrorism in this country,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel R. Nielsen. “We will not let those who inspire fear and commit criminal acts with the intent of changing the policies of our government or her people succeed. Whether a case takes one day or ten years, we will pursue it until we can ensure justice for our shared community.”

“ATF is pleased to have provided its expertise in arson investigations to this case, demonstrating once again that no one is entitled to take the law into their own hands,” said Special Agent in Charge Kelvin N. Crenshaw, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Operation Backfire is notable for many reasons: agencies’ work that was done collaboratively from start to finish; the strong organizational commitment to supporting such a thorough and long-term investigation; and the extraordinary efforts and professional competence of so many individuals investigating and prosecuting this case,” commented Captain Chuck Tilby of the Eugene Police Department. “It demonstrates how our system is prepared to work as long and as hard as it takes to get justice done on the public’s behalf.”

Other members of the conspiracy took part in the following arsons:

(1) October 28, l996 – arson and attempted arson at the U.S. Forest Service’s Detroit Ranger Station in Detroit, Oregon;
(2) June 21, 1998 – arson at the National Wildlife Research Facility in Olympia, Washington; and
(3) May 2l, 200l – arson at the University of Washington Horticulture Center, Seattle, Washington.

Three other charged defendants are international fugitives: Joseph Dibee, Rebecca Rubin and Josephine Sunshine Overaker.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kirk A. Engdall, Stephen F. Peifer and John C. Ray. The ALF/ELF arson conspiracy was jointly investigated over a nine year period by the FBI, ATF, Oregon Department of Justice, Eugene Police Department, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Police and Lane County Sheriff’s Office. For more information, please contact Public Information Officer, Gerri Badden at (503) 727-1033.

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