Suspect in Litchfield fire surrenders
Dec. 4, 2012 — A Canadian citizen, indicted in the Eastern District of California on charges related to the 2001 fire at the Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, surrendered herself into the custody of the Federal Bureau Investigators (FBI), Thursday, Nov. 29.
Rebecca Jeannette Rubin, 39, surrendered herself at the international border of Blaine, Wash., and faces federal arson, destructive device and conspiracy charges in Oregon, Colorado and California.
A press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ) District of Oregon said “Rubin’s arrest marks the end of her decade-long period as an international fugitive in the largest eco-terrorism case in United States history.”
After an appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Rubin will be transferred in custody to face trial in Oregon.
Investigators from the FBI, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Calfire and the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office were called to the corrals in the predawn hours of Oct. 15, 2001 after a fire erupted in a 250-ton haystack and pole barn. Several corral fences were also vandalized.
According to Jeff Fontana, public information officer with the BLM, local firefighters had to leave the corral after discovering several suspicious-looking apparatuses and a bomb squad was called to disarm the devices. No people or animals were injured during the incident.
The DOJ said Rubin’s Oregon charges include her alleged participation in the November 1997 arson at BLM’s wild horse and burro facility in Harney County, near Burns, and attempted arson at the office of the United States Forest Industries in Medford in December 1998.
A Colorado federal indictment charges Rubin with eight counts of arson in the October 1998 fires that destroyed Two Elk Lodge and other buildings at the Vail ski area.
In August 2007, 10 other defendants in the case received prison terms ranging from 156 months to 37 months after pleading guilty in the U.S. District Court in Eugene to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. Two other defendants, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker remain at large as international fugitives.
Each count of arson and attempted arson carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, up to a maximum 20 years. Use of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison. Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of five years. Each count in three indictments carries a potential fine of up to $250,000.
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